A 'Pesticide Hub' In Junagadh Switches To Organic Farming
In India, the bug of growing organic has bitten farmers in the village of Agab, more and more these farmers are making the switch and choosing to grow food sustainably and without the use of chemicals or pesticides. It is interesting that the countries that have the less and are considered Developing countries are the ones making these choices even without governments incentives.
Forty-year-old farmer Mahesh Ratanpara, a resident of Ajab village, 45km from Junagadh town, has decided to switch to organic farming. In fact, this year he has not used a drop of chemical-based pesticide in his 22-bigha farm.
He is not the only one to have decided to switch to organic farming. At least 102 other farmers from the village with population of over 9,000, have decided to do the same.
Mahesh's decision came after his father's death 18 months ago. He had died of cancer. "The pesticides are slowly killing human beings and my father may have got the cancer due to pesticides that we farmers use for our crops. Ever since my father died, I have decided to switch totally to organic farming," said Mahesh.
Ajab village has acquired the dubious distinction of being the 'pesticide hub' with over 35 shops selling some of the deadly chemical-based pesticides.
"We have damaged nature and now we are facing its consequences. According to an estimate, over 135 people from Ajab village are cancer patients. This is alarming and pesticides are directly linked to various kinds of cancer and nobody has denied its ill-effect on human health," said Ashwin Ratanpara, who advocates organic farming in the village. "This is the reason villagers are adopting organic farming," he added.
"Slowly, more farmers will adopt this natural way of farming. We are also going to establish a system of organic produce certification with the help of a recognized agency," Ashwin Ratanpara added.
"This year, 102 farmers have opted to switch over to organic farming and stop using pesticides," said Pankaj Ratanpara, who initiated organic farming three years ago.
Mahesh was surprised by the results after he stopped using pesticide. "We could see the impact on nature in our farms as all the nature's creatures returned. Butterflies, bees, insects, etc, which help crops were observed. They had disappeared when we were using pesticides," he claimed.