Union Minister for Home and Coopera- tion, Amit Shah, on Friday said excess use of chemical fertilisers will lead to a 50 percent rise in the number of people suffering from cancer in the next 10- 15 years. Shah also set a target to encourage 50 percent of the farmers in his Lok Sabha constituency of Gandhinagar to give up chemical fertilisers and take up natural farming.

India’s farming is heading towards a dangerous future. Due to excess use of chemical fertilisers, the soil in the country is slowly becoming barren. Due to excess use of chemicals, the poison has started reaching underground sources of water. Our grains have already become poisonous, but if water also becomes poisonous in the next 10-15 years, then as per estimates of scientists, the number of people suffering from cancer will increase more than 50 percent. We have to recognize this danger, Shah said. He was virtually addressing over 1,000 farmers in his constituency.

He said the lack of periodic review of agricultural practises that have continued since the Green Revolution led to the current situation.

Stating that natural farming, which supports the use of dung and urine of Indian cow breeds, is the only way to restore the soil’s productivity, Shah, who was accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and Governor Acharya Devvrat at the Chief Minister’s Office in Gandhinagar, said, In Gujarat, more than two lakh farmers have adopted natural farming and changed farming practises in 2.5 lakh hectares in just two years. This means that the farmers of Gujarat have recognized the profits.

He said the water table in the state has dropped below 1,000-1,200 feet and natural farming techniques can help cut the usage of water by 50 percent. I have taken a decision as a Member of Parliament that by 2025, at least 50 percent of the farmers in my constituency will be encouraged to take up natural farming, he said, addressing farmers in Sanand, Bavla and Kalol talukas. He asked officials to set a target of ensuring that at least 15 farmers take up natural farming at each village in Gandhinagar constituency by the end of 2022.

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Currently, natural farming is practised in 10,000- odd villages and the state government has declared Dangs as a natural farming district, free from the use of chemical fertilisers.

Let’s make a beginning. It is a way shown by our vedas, puranas and it has been practised by our ancestors, he added. Shah said Amul will set up laboratories in places that have a higher concentration of farmers. practising natural farming. These laboratories will certify the soil and the agricultural produce and will provide the Amul brand to market the produce, he added.

Shah also unveiled a logo for natural farming for the Gujarat government and inaugurated a mobile application that will link 100-odd Farmer-Producer. Organisations (FPOS), farmers and customers of natural farming products. Besides, he launched an electric vehicle to transport natural farming products in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.

The Union minister, who is on a two-day visit to Gujarat on the occasion of Makar Sankranti festival, visited Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad on Friday to of- fer prayers.

Governor Devvrat, an advocate of natural farming, too shared his personal experiences with the farmers. He said natural farming not only helps cut down on water consumption in farms, but also helps to keep the soil moist and fertile. He advised the farmers not to burn crop residue and said it would lead to air pollution and turn the soil infertile.

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