Government and agricultural stakeholders gathered at a stakeholder workshop to address the pressing issue of excessive use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture. The workshop, titled “Strategy for Promotion of Alternative Nutrition to Reduce Dependence on Chemical Fertilizers for Soil Health and Sustainability,” aimed to find solutions to combat reduced soil fertility and vitality caused by unbalanced nutrient application.
Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, emphasized the need for collaborative efforts to counteract the negative effects of chemical fertilizers on agriculture. He expressed concerns over the adverse consequences of chemical fertilizers on human and animal health, which have been observed in areas with excessive fertilizer usage.
He stressed the importance of increasing agricultural production while ensuring the fertility of the soil and the well-being of citizens. He called upon the scientific community to devise solutions that enhance agricultural and soil productivity while being accessible and implementable for farmers.
In addition to scientists, the Minister underscored the significance of regular consultations between the government and agricultural stakeholders. Dr. Mandaviya emphasized the importance of incorporating their suggestions and feedback into policies to foster sustainable farming practices throughout the country.
Prof. Ramesh Chand, a member of NITI Aayog, acknowledged the convenience of using chemical fertilizers but emphasized the need to prioritize sustainable farming practices in India. He regarded the workshop as an interactive platform and urged the active participation of all stakeholders to yield fruitful results. Prof. Chand emphasized the necessity of developing agricultural solutions that prioritize farmers’ welfare, environmental health, and the strengthening of the agricultural sector.
Rajat Kumar Mishra, Secretary of the Department of Fertilizers, highlighted recent government decisions aimed at boosting agricultural productivity and rejuvenating soil fertility. He announced the introduction of PM PRANAM (PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth) with a substantial allocation of Rs. 3,70,128 crores.
PM PRANAM aims to promote natural and organic farming, restore soil productivity, increase farmer incomes, and ensure food security in the country. Mr. Mishra also emphasized the role of Sulphur coated Urea, known as Urea Gold, in addressing soil deficiencies and helping farmers reduce input costs and increase agricultural incomes.
Manoj Ahuja, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, praised the historic decision of implementing PM PRANAM and acknowledged the need for sustainable agricultural practices to mitigate the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers. He called for cooperation with agricultural universities to disseminate the message and benefits of these schemes to farmers at the grassroots level.
The workshop saw the participation of Neeraja Adidam, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Vice Chancellors of Agricultural Universities, State Agriculture Officers, manufacturers, distributors, farmer groups, NGOs, as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, and NITI Aayog. Their presence demonstrated the commitment of various stakeholders to address the challenges posed by chemical fertilizers and work towards sustainable agriculture for the betterment of the nation.