Fertiliser, pesticide overuse has affected quality of soil: Agriculture minister

Excess usage of fertilisers and pesticides in the state over the past few decades, in a bid to improve crop yield, has led to deterioration in quality of the soil, UP Agriculture Minister Kuwar Anand Singh said here today.

Speaking at a conference on sustainable technologies in promoting the agriculture sector, Anand said, "I was in active politics 40 years ago too, and wherever I went, people used to ask just one question: how can we increase the produce? Even we encouraged them to use fertilisers and pesticides. So the farmers first made it a habit, and then became 'addicted' to them."

Stressing the need to increase awareness about technologies in farming, Anand also urged the state agriculture produce marketing board to ensure that farmers get fair price for produce, rather than the middlemen.

Calling for inclusive growth, UP agriculture production commissioner Alok Ranjan said that about 80 per cent of the state's farmers own less than a hectare of land, adding that credit facilities should also be provided to them. "About 60 per cent of the state's farmers are still outside the organised credit system," he said.

On til (sesame) cultivation in UP, the minister said that India exports about $600 crore worth of sesame annually. "But much of the benefit of sesame cultivated in Bundelkhand goes to Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, who buy sesame from farmers, process it, and export it," he said, adding that a sesame processing plant will be set up in the state.

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