Bhubaneswar: The Centre has launched a pilot project christened as Green Agriculture (Green-Ag) in an attempt to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from farm sector.
The pilot project, which was launched in Mizoram July 28 this year, would be extended to states like Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand in the coming days, sources said.
As per the plan, steps would be taken for better management of water in agriculture sector, organic farming and maintenance of biodiversity in farming in 104.070-hectare land in these five states. The Green-Ag pilot project would be launched in Similipal area of Odisha and is supposed to end March 31, 2026, sources said.
However, many agriculturalists have opined that though Green-Ag project will have some positive impact on environment, it is most likely to affect the output. The experts have raised apprehension that the project may lead to severe food shortage.
Former Vice-Chancellor of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Surendra Nath Pashupalak, claimed that farmers cannot apply chemical fertilisers, pesticides and cow dung manure to farmland under Green-Ag technique. As a result, the farmers are most likely to face huge loss on production front.
“A farmer will start reaping the benefits of Green Agriculture after five years of its launch. The farmers may not find it easy to bear the losses for five years. Besides, production cost will go up due to adoption of Green-Ag and the sales will be hit. The new system of agriculture can be successful, if there is provision for compensation to the farmers,” Pashupalak argued.
A senior official of state Agriculture department has opined that Green-Ag project is a good initiative insofar as environment is concerned. “However, only time can tell about the success of the project,” he said.
It is worth mentioning here that the Centre has failed to take steps to provide the just price for paddy to the farmers. As per data, a farmer is now spending Rs 2,403 to produce a quintal of paddy. But, the minimum support price (MSP) for a quintal of paddy has been fixed at Rs 1,868 for 2020-21 financial year.
“The farmers are now bearing a loss of Rs 535 per quintal of paddy. Their loss would rise manifold due to fall in output under Green-Ag project,” said an expert.
Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department secretary Sourav Garg said the state government has prepared a ‘climate change action plan’ to help farmers to opt for sustainable agriculture. “The Green-Ag project is a good initiative. We will take necessary steps after receiving detailed information on the project,” he added.
Notably, a study has claimed that around 6 million tonne greenhouse gases are emitted from farm sector in a year. As per data, the emission of greenhouse gases from agriculture has gone up by 8 per cent within 1990 and 2010.
The emission of greenhouse gases is likely to go up by 15 per cent during 2020 and 2030.