Organic Farming | VOL.14, ISSUE 83 May-June 2013

Organic Farming in Vidarbha

For this septuagenarian farmer, practicing organic farming is a way of life. At 76, Maniklal Mantri, starts work at 8 in the morning traveling around 12 km on his gearless-two-wheeler to reach his farm, a borrowed tract of land near his village in Utkhed located at Morshi Taluka of Amravati District in Maharashtra. Although farmer suicides in Amravati district have dropped to 159 in 2013 as compared to 270 in 2006, suicide of cotton farmers is common in the Vidarbha region - and Maniklal’s reticence to discuss the issue is perplexing. “Technology has made people lazy. Organic farming is a laborious task and hence it drives people away. Nobody wants to collect gomutra (cow urine) and use it to control bollworms. People care less about soil fertility and environmental degradation,” he says. Maniklal, who claims to have trained over 15,000 farmers on organic agriculture, crestfallenly notes that not more than a handful of them practice it. Bt Cotton Market: India is overwhelmingly a Bt Cotton country today. According to the Central Institute of Cotton Research annual report of 2013, with the commercial release of Bt hybrids in 2002, around 92 per cent of the total cotton area of 117.73 lakh hectares are under Bt as of last year. India continued to maintain the largest area under cotton and is the second largest producer of...

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