Master plan for carbon-neutral agriculture on the anvil

Farm sector should give due importance to soil health and climate, says Minister

A master plan for achieving the aim of carbon-neutral agriculture is on the cards in the State. Minister for Agriculture P. Prasad on Thursday inaugurated a two-day workshop ‘Carbon-neutral agriculture in Kerala’ organised by the department for generating suggestions which would help in drafting the master plan.

The department also plans to organise a meeting of farming experts in the State in January, Mr. Prasad said. “Andhra Pradesh has set a model with natural farming. We also have various models which will prove useful,” Mr. Prasad said on the sidelines of the workshop.

‘Revamp of farm sector’

Inaugurating the workshop, he underscored the need to revamp the farm sector for reducing carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality by giving due importance to soil health and climate. Unscientific farming practices are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, he said. Prasant Kumar Swain, Additional Secretary, (Agriculture), Government of India, said the country’s farm sector should adapt to the carbon-neutral approach and treat it like a ‘mantra.’

In India, the sector accounts for 15% of the total emissions. “Though it may not be very high compared to the global average, we need to look at it if we are to make the sector emission-free.” Mr. Swain also stressed the need to balance the livelihood aspects of agriculture and the challenge of reducing the emissions due to agriculture.

‘Holistic farming’

T. Vijay Kumar, executive vice chairman, Rythu Sadhikara Samstha, and ex-officio special Chief Secretary to Andhra Pradesh government (natural farming), called for a holistic approach to farming. Current land management practices are leading to a steady loss of soil organic matter. He termed agricultural practices that cause carbon emission ‘destructive.’ Natural farming, he said, is based on the concept that all nutrients required by plants are available in adequate quantities in the soil, air, and water.

Former Chief Secretary S.M. Vijayanand spoke. Experts from various States, agricultural institutions are attending the workshop which will conclude on Friday.

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