Amity School of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development along with Amity Institute of Organic Agriculture organized one day awareness –cum- training programme on “Farmers’ Voices- Combating Land Degradation for Sustainable Development” at Amity University, Sector- 125, Noida. The training programme was sponsored by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi.
Inaugurating the seminar, Mr. M. P Singh – Joint Director (Agriculture), Meerut Commission, Meerut thanked Amity for organizing a seminar on such a burning topic and giving an adequate platform to the farmers to discuss their problems and share their experience with fellow farmers. Talking about the grim scenario of land degradation in India he said that land and environment degradation is adversely affecting the fertility of the soil thereby affecting the agricultural output of the country. Although the soil and land appears normal from outside but it has lost its essential nutrients from within which are very necessary for healthy crops. Human beings are gifted with sufficient and adequate natural resources for existence and survival but out of their greed they exploit the nature and its gifts. He advised the farmers to judiciously use the resources and use organic fertilizers which can ameliorate the fertility of the soil in a natural and harmless way.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Gurbachan Singh- Director, CSSRI, Karnal said that for last 7- 8 years the agricultural development has come to a stand still. In the last Five Year Plan the estimated agricultural growth was 5% but the actual growth averaged between 2- 2.5%, which is a very dismissal figure. According to a survey done by National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), 40% of the farmers in India want to leave agriculture. Talking about the ill effects of the encroachment of nature on human beings, he citied the case of a particular village in Bathinda, wherein excessive consumption of water had lowered the water level forcing the people to install submersible water pumps to draw out water from a depth of 300- 400 feet. As a result of which the use of water contaminated with unaccounted metals like arsenic has caused cancer in 70% of the denizens in that village. He urged people to treasure the natural resources which our forefathers had given us and to make sure that these are passed on to the coming generations with quality intact.
Expressing his concern over the issue, Dr. R. L Srivastava – Director, AFRI, Jodhpur said that at present the problems related to environment, agriculture and water are most pressing and the growing population of India is adding to it. He called upon the people to conserve natural resources in order to ensure and prolong human sustenance on this planet.
The seminar comprised of three technical sessions covering important topics such as “ Land Use Policy- Current Scenario on National and International Aspects”, “ Land Degradation- Monitoring its impacts and assessment” by Dr. Gurbachan Singh- Director, CSSRI, Karnal, “ Water Resource Management” by Dr. Namrata Pathak- Consultant, Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems, New Delhi, “ Agro-forestry Models for Farmers in Arid and Semi- arid Regions of India” by Dr. R. L Srivastava – Director, AFRI, Jodhpur and “ Farmers Forests Interrelationship” by Dr. K. G Tejwani- Board Member, ISCO, New Delhi. The seminar was attended by over 80 farmers from the villages of Delhi/ NCR.
The sessions were followed by interactive sessions with the farmers in which they discussed their day to day agriculture related problems with the experts. Suggestions were doled out to resolve the problems of the farmers. The practical suggestions mooted during the seminar would be used to sensitize the important stakeholders like decision makers and policy makers in the country to facilitate the introduction of new policies in the discussed area.