The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday appointed agriculturist and inventor of Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) Subhash Palekar as an advisor to promote organic farming in the state.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu met Palekar here and appointed him as an advisor to the government, responsible for formulating policies and creating a framework to foster organic farming.
According to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office, the move is part of the government’s efforts to make agriculture more profitable, reduce input cost and to encourage and promote healthy and organic farming.
Naidu also requested Palekar to help build a university in Amaravati exclusively for organic farming. For this purpose, the state government has agreed to allot 100 acres of land and Rs 100 crore as investment.
The Chief Minister said that he will strive to make Andhra Pradesh 100 percent organic in the coming years and eliminate use of harmful chemicals and fertilizers in crop production.
Last year, Palekar had organized a training programme for thousands of farmers from all over the state. The government aims to train 10 lakh farmers in the coming three years.
The state government had last year initiated Zero-Budget Natural Farming. This initiative covered a total of 5 lakh farmers and 5 lakh hectares in 2,000 villages and 50 percent ‘mandals’ of the state spread across all the districts and all agro-climatic zones.
Another 260 clusters have been identified for initiating the work from Kharif 2017. 1,80,000 farmers are expected to be on board this year, said the statement.