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ORGANIC, SAYS THE GOVERNMENT, IS THE WAY TO GO

Let’s start your week off with a ray of good news. Or many rays, for that matter. As awareness increases about organic farming and sustainable methods of making the food we eat, state governments around the country are including it in their plans for the state.


From panchayats in Kerala to struggling farmers in Telangana, organic is the buzzword for governing bodies in rural areas. With this year being declared the year of the soil by the U.N., soil health is also finding focus in many areas where the soil is, in fact, on its last legs. Efforts to revive and replenish soil, which has been leached of all nutrients, by introducing indigenous and organic methods have seen a surge in order to keep farmer livelihoods going.


A round up of the good news around the country to show you what’s been up in the field the last week. And one dissenter in the end just to set the debate off nice, this lovely Monday morning!


First up, good news from Telangana — once known for its tragic farmer suicides — where an NGO has been working for years with farmers, encouraging them to employ organic methods. Farmers who own anything from 2.5 acres of land to 20, have come forward and shared their experience saying the vegetables last longer, are fresher, have no smell of pesticides, and after the first two years, the yield has dramatically increased.


Next: Muvattupuzha, a little town in Kerala, has a panchayat that’s making organic farming its focus in the next five-year-plan, starting this year. Good news!


To the east, Assam is putting its money where its mouth is. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi announced an aid of Rs 5 lakh to a self-help group named Farm to Food Foundation, which has been promoting organic and indigenous methods of farming in areas of the state. The better news, however, is that he has encouraged the SHG to take their activity to more parts of Assam. More organic is always good.



Except, our contrarian of the week over in England is Lord Krebs, one of the UK government’s scientific advisors, who doesn’t think so. He says organic farming is actually worse for the climate because it takes more land to produce the same yield modern farming produces. Not seeing the wood for the trees, anyone?


He further claims vegetables from organic farming are no more nutritious than regular vegetables, and therefore, are not value for money. A voice of reason comes in the form of Helen Browning, the chief executive of Soil Association (in the UK), who says, “A global analysis has shown that organic farming stores significant amounts of carbon in the soil over time, and is a very effective way of combating climate change.”


We’d love to hear what you think organic practices are doing to soil and climate.

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