In a significant shift towards sustainable agricultural practices, progressive farmers in Mandi district have taken bold steps towards adopting natural farming, leaving behind conventional chemical-laden methods. More than 35,000 farmers in the district have already transitioned to natural farming, covering an expansive area of approximately 4,500 hectares.
The district administration, in collaboration with the agricultural department, has implemented effective measures to promote extensive natural farming practices, yielding commendable results.
Incorporating Training and Additional Facilities
Under the “Aatma” project initiated by the Agricultural Department, Subhash Parlekar, along with numerous other farmers, has enthusiastically embraced natural farming. The project aims to integrate a growing number of farmers into natural farming practices, with the ultimate goal of replacing chemical-dependent agriculture with high-quality, organic produce. The state government is also providing various facilities and resources, including training in natural farming techniques and essential equipment, to farmers involved in this project.
Choutara Block Leads in Natural Farming Participation
In the entire district, Choutara Block stands out with the highest number of farmers actively engaged in natural farming. A total of 3,362 farmers in this block have adopted natural farming, covering an impressive 336 hectares. Following closely, Gopalpur Block boasts 2,952 farmers involved in this sustainable practice, while Gohar Block holds the third position with 2,855 farmers adopting natural farming by March 2023.
Block-wise Breakdown of Natural Farming Participation
Across all developmental blocks in Mandi district, over 3,500 farmers have transitioned to natural farming. Balichaki Block leads with 2,504 farmers cultivating across 414 hectares, followed by Balh Block with 2,145 farmers covering 291 hectares. Choutara Block has 3,362 farmers practicing natural farming on 336 hectares, while Dharampur Block has 2,697 farmers cultivating around 290 hectares. Drang Block follows closely with 2,599 farmers over 329 hectares, and Gopalpur Block has 2,952 farmers on 319 hectares. Gohar Block, Karasog Subdivision, is also actively participating, with 2,855 farmers covering 321 hectares. Mandi Sadar Block involves 2,637 farmers in cultivating 310 hectares, Saraj Block includes 2,721 farmers on 393 hectares, Sundarnagar Block with 2,132 farmers on 296 hectares, Churag Block with 2,710 farmers on 342 hectares, Nihri Block with 1,881 farmers on 234 hectares, and Dhautu Block with 1,572 farmers on 283 hectares.
Padma Shri Award Attained
Nekaram Sharma, a dedicated farmer from Nanj village in the Karasog Subdivision of Mandi district, has not only excelled in natural farming but has also been recognized on a national level. Having abandoned conventional agricultural practices, Nekaram Sharma has successfully grown nine different grains using natural methods, earning him the prestigious Padma Shri Award. His contributions to the field of agriculture have not only brought him acclaim but have also elevated the status of Mandi district in the realm of natural farming.
Effective Implementation of the “Aatma” Project
Project Director Deshraj Sharma of the Aatma project in Mandi district has reported successful and efficient implementation of the natural farming initiative. With over 35,000 farmers now practicing natural farming in the district, covering approximately 4,500 hectares, the state government continues to extend every possible support to farmers, with the goal of promoting extensive natural farming practices.