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Goa to increase organic farming footprint in absence of tourist footfall

The organic farming university is believed to help in turning the neglected sector around.

Tourism in Goa registered a sharp decline with the onset of the global pandemic, however, the state is looking to cultivate a new footprint in its absence. Further, statewide curfew has affected the supply of essential goods like milk, eggs, meat and agricultural produce. Consequently, a push towards organic farming and related local practices has been triggered to bridge the chasm between demand and supply. In light of these events, the state government has decided to set up an organic farming university and provide subsidies to aid farmers, among other things.

What is Goa government doing to boost organic farming?

The Chief Minister of Goa supports integrated farming methods and states that the coastal state has the potential to be declared fully organic in the near future. He also informed that there might be an increase in vermiculture and demand for natural fertilisers. So, in an effort to streamline and popularise organic farming culture in the state, an organic farming university will soon be set up.

An educational institute being set up to promote organic farming is believed to help in turning the neglected sector around, as well as, tap fallow patches of agricultural land for productive use. The Minister of Agriculture appreciated this move and was reportedly quoted saying- "It will also give a new direction to the youth."

Further, the Agriculture Department of Goa also conducted a review of 500 organic farming clusters under the leadership of the Minister of Agriculture, earlier this week, to assess the situation on the ground. These organic farming clusters are spread over 10,000 hectares of land, across all the 12 revenue sub-divisions in the state, and are manned by 12,000 registered farmers with small land-holdings.

Why is Goa boosting organic farming?

Traditional agriculture in Goa involves the cultivation of crops like paddy, cashew, coconut and seasonal vegetables and pulses. However, sharp-shooting real estate prices, escalating labour cost and farm share-holdings shrinking with every generation has made agriculture a less attractive proposition as compared to mining, tourism and employment in the service sector.

Hence, the government of Goa launched an initiative to encourage organic farming clusters in 2018 and trained farmers in organic farming practices. But, organic farming received a real boost with the shortage of essential items faced by the state residents, following the pandemic. Now, the officials are assisting the overall objective of this farming practice by helping farmers in marketing their produce as well.

Why is organic farming advantageous?

Organic farming is more advantageous than the traditional method as it can turn small farm holdings into profit-generating enterprises. Further, the Agriculture Director of Goa stated that farmers can also tap into a 50 per cent subsidy on organic inputs if they desist from using pesticides and chemical fertilisers, hence, it is cost-effective as well.

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