New Delhi, March 17, 2023: NITI Aayog released the Task Force report titled “Production and Promotion of Organic and Bio fertilisers with Special Focus on Improving Economic Viability of Gaushalas”. The report was released by Prof Ramesh Chand, Member (Agriculture), NITI Aayog in the presence of Taskforce members, senior government officials and representatives from gaushalas. The Task Force was constituted by NITI Aayog to suggest measures to make gaushalas economically viable, address problem of stray and abandoned cattle and effective utilization of cow dung and cow urine in agriculture and energy sectors.
Dr. Neelam Patel, Senior Adviser (Agri), NITI Aayog and Member Secretary of the Task Force apprised the participants about the background, terms of references and approach adopted by the taskforce in developing the report.
Cattle were an integral component of the traditional farming system in India and Gaushalas can be of great help in promoting natural farming and organic farming. The agri-inputs developed from cattle wastes- cow dung and cow urine can reduce or replace agro chemicals, serving as plant nutrients and plant protection, on economic, health, environmental and sustainability reasons. The effective utilization of the cattle waste is an ideal example of circular economy that harness waste to wealth concept.
Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog highlighted that the unique strength of south Asian agriculture is the integration of livestock with crops. He stated that in last 50 years, serious imbalance emerged in the use of inorganic fertilizer and livestock manure. This is adversely affecting soil health, food quality, efficiency, environment, and human health. Recognising this, the Govt of India is promoting sustainable agriculture practices such as organic farming and natural farming. Gaushalas can become an integral part in scaling up natural and sustainable farming by acting as a resource centres for supply of bio and organic inputs.
Dr Rajeshwar Singh Chandel, Vice Chancellor, Dr. Y. S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan highlighted the experiences from Himachal Pradesh and shared that the task force report will strengthen the waste-to-wealth initiative by promoting the use of organic & bio fertilisers. He also emphasised the importance of institutional support in improving economic viability of gaushalas.
Highlighting the shift towards organic farming and natural farming in recent years, Shri Priya Ranjan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare mentioned that Union Budget 2023 has given special importance to natural farming and the recommendations of the taskforce report will further augment these efforts.
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Task force members and representatives of Gaushalas shared their experiences and views about the role of gaushalas in promotion of sustainable farming and waste to wealth initiative.
The report released on March 10, 2023, provides factual estimates of operating costs and fixed costs and other issues in respect of gaushalas and cost and investments involved in setting up Bio-CNG plant and PROM plant in Gaushalas. It provides suggestions and recommendations for improving financial and economic viability of Gaushalas, channelizing potential of stray, abandoned and uneconomic cattle wealth for promoting natural and organic farming.