Narmada's catchment area to be made an organic farming belt

Narmada

An ambitious 10-year action plan to convert river Narmada's catchment area into an organic or natural farming belt will be released during the upcoming three-day International River Festival.

The International River Festival (IRF'13) will be held from February 8-10 on the banks of Narmada at Bandrabhan in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh.

"The experience from years of continuous work for environment and Narmada river conservation has made us realise that the river is most affected by chemical fertilisers/ pesticides used for agriculture in the catchment area," Rajya Sabha MP from BJP and Narmada Samagra's (NGO) secretary Anil Madhav Dave said today.

"This affects the Narmada river indirectly as the chemical fertilisers/ pesticides pollute the ground water, which percolates and adds to the flow of the river," he said.

Narmada, which originates from Amarkantak in Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh, has a total basin area spread over 23 districts across 98,796 sq kms, both in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and a small portion in Maharashtra.

"We are committed to work through our 72 units from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and converting the catchment area of Narmada river into an organic/ natural belt," Dave said.

"It would not be merely organic farming but an eco-friendly method of agriculture through which Narmada river can be conserved from chemical impurities and in the process farmers will also get economic sustainability," he said.

Confident of achieving the target, Dave said the NGO plans to mobilise, convince and empower marginal farmers carrying out farming in Narmada basin to change the existing practice into organic/ natural farming, over a period of ten years.

"This will ensure sustainable livelihood for them and help in our mission of river conservation," he said.

The action plan will be presented during the IRF for deliberations among the participants and it will be released during the event, he added.

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