The Telegraph
Saturday , August 2 , 2014
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Organic mart in capital

Green would soon be the colour of your plate.

Come Sunday, farmers from Namkum and Bundu blocks of Ranchi will replenish the Vidhan Sabha market in Dhurwa with organically grown fruits and vegetables, which in addition to lacking toxic residues of conventional agricultural yield are arguably more nutritious too.

Christened Sri Sri Farmers Market, the noble endeavour is supported by The Art of Living foundation and Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences & Technology Trust, Bangalore.

“We have been working in Namkum for over six years now. Villagers have been trained in organic farming. Now, we will provide them a direct market for their bio-produce without involving middlemen,” said Rajesh Kundu, a volunteer of The Art of Living.

According to organisation functionaries, it will be a Sunday market from 9am and the prices of organically grown vegetables and fruits will be the same as those grown with the help of chemical fertilisers. The project will support local farmers and ensure that they get better price by selling their organic produce directly to end users, read pamphlets released on Friday to announce the August 3 launch.

Ashim Kundu, a full-timer with The Art of Living, is the main driving force behind the project that is being executed by the YLTP (youth leadership training programme) team.

“We have roped in 150 farmers from Namkum and Bundu who have been trained in organic farming, a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. At present, around two quintals of vegetables and fruits like onion, nenua, kundri, guava, papaya and mango will be grown every week. The organic yield will increase soon. The mart will also sell shuddh desi ghee and honey,” he said.

Kundu has been working with farmers of the region for over half a decade and has taught them how to produce organic manure, which increases soil fertility manifold. “We promote non-hybrid seeds. Hybrid varieties and inorganic fertilisers are a strict no-no.” He added that they were trying to get the organic products certified by a quality laboratory.

On whether the villagers were preferring organic methods when it came to productivity, the farming expert, who holds a masters degree in rural development, said cultivation using green manure preserved fertility of the land and hence, was more sustainable.

“When other developed nations are consuming organically grown products, we can do the same too,” he summed it up.

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