As much as 76% of the total population of Odisha is engaged in agricultural activities. The total cropped area is 87,46,000 hectares, of which 18,79,000 is under irrigation. Odisha is one of the largest producers of rice in India. The other crops cultivated are: jute, oil seeds, pulses, coconut, mesta, sugarcane, tea, rubber, cotton, gram, mustard, maize, sesame, ragi, potato, and soybean. Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Baleshwar and Sambalpur are the major agricultural hubs of the state.

Odisha has four zones—coastal plains, central tableland, northern plateau and eastern ghats—that are further subdivided into 10 agro-climatic zones. The state’s climate is tropical, characterized by high temperatures, high humidity, medium to high rainfall and short and mild winters. The state usually receives rainfall of around 1451.2 mm. However, it suffers from frequent natural calamities such as cyclones, droughts, and flash floods. The soil type ranges from fertile, alluvial, deltaic soil in the coastal plains, mixed red and black soil in the central tableland, to red and yellow soil with low fertility in the northern plateau and red, black and brown forest soil in the eastern ghat region. They differ widely from highly acidic to slightly alkaline to light sandy to stiff clay.

A state-level meeting was held for integrating Natural Farming practices with BPKP, Odisha Millet Mission, PKVY, on 19 November 2020, and a roadmap on the promotion of Natural Farming was prepared. Under the Odisha Millet Mission, Natural Farming practices—such as seed treatment through  Beejamrit, application of  Jivamrit, handi khata for soil health, and promotion of cycle weeders—are practiced.

The special programme for promotion of integrated farming in Maligiri District follows Natural Farming principles for promoting crop diversification, rice intensification, rainfed fishery, etc.

Also, a state-level technical committee on agrobiodiversity and agroecology was proposed to be formed, with the state biodiversity board, FAO, MoA-NRAA, ICAR, OUAT and State Secretariat (NCDS and WASSAN of SPPIF).

These decisions will promote Natural Farming principles in line with the state’s organic farming policy of 2018.

Source: Directorate of Agriculture and Food Production, Odisha

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