Representational image. With growing demand for organic vegetables and fruits, women farmers in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district have moved to natural farming (Pic. Courtesy wikimedia commons)
Organic farming has come to stay and in fact it is catching up among the farmers. An example of this is Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district where 53,764 farmers practising natural farming are growing 18 varieties of crops in an area of 67,356 acres.
As per the farmers, organic farming not only reduces the cost of cultivation but also increases the crop yield while fetching lucrative prices in the market.
Taking a lead in this front are women farmers many of whom have already switched to natural farming, with several now keen to do so. They grow sorghum, paddy, black gram, ragi, green and red gram, Bengal gram, sesame, millets, vegetables and coriander among others. They also cultivate vegetables like beetroot, bottle gourd, cluster beans, lady’s fingers, cucumber, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and red chillies.
Sharing his experience, one farmer named Siva said that he changed to natural farming in 2017 and since then cultivates paddy, mango and red gram. Apart from the cultivation cost coming down by 50 per cent, the demand for these products is much more as compared to those produced using chemicals, pesticides and insecticides.
With growing awareness, consumers, especially those in urban areas, have been demanding organic products. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has made several people switch to using these products. It has also been observed that on many special occasions and festivals, people insist on organic pulses, rice and vegetables.
With the Government insisting on reduction in use of chemical fertilisers, many farmers are changing over to the natural farming methods. Keeping these factors in view, the Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming has been spreading awareness about organic cultivation of crops among farmers. In Nellore itself, 222 villages in 46 mandals are doing organic farming.