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'I Cannot Let My Mother Earth be Degraded': PM Asks Farmers to Cut Down Fertiliser Use by 30-40%

News18.com

Last Updated: August 16, 2019, 13:06 IST

Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech made the demand while asserting that the government's focus was on farmers.

New Delhi: During the first Independence Day speech of his second tenure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the country's farmers to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers by 30-40 percent.

The Prime Minister made the demand while asserting that the government's focus was on farmers. He said, "I want to demand something from my farmers today. I cannot let my mother earth be degraded. I want to appeal to all my farmers to reduce use of chemical fertilisers by 30-40% . Just by doing this you will be doing a service to Mother Earth."

He further added that the farmers were an integral part of the country's economic vision saying,"Our focus is the farmers. Their income needs to be doubled. They need to be provided with the optimum price for their produce. Our farmers also need to be taken to the international markets. Why shouldn't we think of becoming an export hub?"

He further added that the same could be done to promote the interests of handicraft artisans in the country, "Every region in India has its indigenous handicraft, its own handloom, its own unique products. Why can't we utilise this to provide India the impetus for becoming an exporting nation?"

In 2016, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture noted in a report that the rate of decadal growth of the sector had significantly decreased from 8.37 percent in 1960-70 to 2.161 percent in 2000-2010.

The foremost reason for the drop was the uncontrolled use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides that led to deteriorating soil fertility. The Standing Committee also warned that India would not be able to feed itself by 2025.

As per the report, 292 farming districts accounted for the consumption of 85 percent of the country's net fertilizer usage. The situation is particularly grim in agricultural states like Punjab and Haryana, where widely consumed cash crops like potatoes, sugarcane, cotton, wheat and paddy are grown.

The Agriculture Ministry's policy on subsidy is to be blamed, the report said. "(The) skewed subsidy policy in favour of urea and high prices of other fertilisers are the real culprit behind the imbalanced use of fertilisers in the country,” it read.

The committee had also noted that the Central Insecticide Board (CIB) does not conduct it's own research, but advises the government based on national and international information available.