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Experts’ tips on organic farming

Patna, June 23: The second day of the international conference on organic farming, organised by the department of agriculture, witnessed three technical sessions. These dealt with organic vegetables, organic fruits and organic cereals.

Brice Dubius, manager, Swiss National Project, presented his project on Organic potato: a challenge for growers. He said: “There are two challenges for farmers — nitrogenous fertilisers and late blight of potato (a disease that spoils the vegetable) — in organic food cultivation. The cultural management method (cultivation of crop in narrow strips perpendicular to wind direction) can help fix the late blight in potatoes.”

“Organically produced potatoes are rich in Vitamin C as compared to the traditionally grown ones,” he added.

The technical session on organic vegetables was chaired by M.K. Basu, member, Sundarban Development Board and co-chaired by V.P. Singh, director research, RAU, Pusa, Bihar. Basu laid stress on organic vegetable production, particularly organic potato. He also talked of the arsenic content in the soil which hampers potato production.

Michael Adair Nichols, honorary research associate, Massay University, has a good experience in horticulture. Nichols explained the improved methods of vegetable production like hydroponics aquaponics (low technology, high technology).

The technical session dealing with organic cereals saw M.M. Pandey, vice-chancellor, Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur, and few other speakers express their views on food security in India. Pandey said: “Madhya Pradesh is ranking first in organic farming in the country and Bihar is far below with an area of 1000hactares under organic farming.”

Udai Burman from central arid zone research institute said: “Climate change plays an important role in organic and inorganic farming. There has been an increase in temperature in India since 1998 . The ill effects of this can be minimised through conservation agriculture, following crop rotation and adopting organic farming.”

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