Farmer outreach: PM Modi may address convention on cow-based agriculture in Varanasi



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In what could possibly be one of his first direct interactions with farmers after the decision to repeal three contentious agriculture reform laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is most likely to address a farmers’ convention on cow-based organic agriculture proposed in Varanasi in the third week of December.

The convention is proposed to be held near Shahanshahpur in the Rajatalab area of Varanasi, said an officer of the agriculture department who asked not to be named. Varanasi is PM Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency.

About 2,500 to 3,000 farmers will be invited to the convention, said the officer, adding that they will share their experiences. An outline for the meet has already been drawn up.

Those farmers engaged in cow-based agriculture in different states of the country and using cow dung manure in farming will be among the invitees. In addition, agriculture scientists, experts from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and farmers from various parts of UP will be invited, said the officer.

“A convention on cow-based farming is proposed to be held in Varanasi in the third week of December,” said Varanasi divisional commissioner Deepak Agarwal and added that the date would be finalised soon.

Another officer familiar with the matter said that the preparations for the convention are underway. A list of the farmers adept in cow-based agriculture is being finalized for invitation to the meet.

Farmers are engaged in cow-based agriculture in pockets of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and certain other states where they use cow dung manure, in place of chemical fertilizers and prepare natural pesticides using cow dung and jaggery to protect their crops.

These farmers will share their ideas on popularising cow-based farming, the officer said.

PM Modi will interact with the farmers at the convention and may address them. A team of agriculture department officials will take note of the methods of cow-based farming in order to popularise them in UP.

Before or after the convention, Modi is likely to visit Sevapuri, the country’s first model development block in Varanasi where all development schemes have been implemented with a special focus on health and education. A primary health centre, which was set up in Hathi Bazar, was upgraded and several wellness centres were set up. Awareness drives were carried out to bring behavioural change among the people in order that they use toilets. The locals were motivated to ensure that every child is enrolled in government schools.

Political analyst Kaushal Kishore Mishra, senior professor of political science at Banaras Hindu University, said that there was hardly any protest against the three new agri reform laws in the entire eastern UP, Avadh and Bundelkhand regions.

“After taking the decision to repeal the three agri laws, the convention on cow-based farming is proposed to be held in Varanasi in December. Apparently, the convention is an effort by the government to give a message to the farmers that it is regularly making efforts to increase their income. Keep in mind that the time, topic and place of this convention are very important,” he said.

Cow-based farming, prevalent in the country for ages, is zero-budget natural farming, which the Modi government promotes, said Prof Mishra and added that the convention appears to be an effort to connect with the farmers.

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