Even as the central government is promoting organic farming in a big way, the head of a central research institute in the agriculture sector refused to allow a talk on the subject by an expert at a farmers' fair held at Nagpur in Maharashtra.
"My experience with organic farming is pretty bad, so I won't allow my forum to be used to promote it," Shyam Singh, the director of the National Research Centre for Citrus (NRCC), said Wednesday when an organic farming activist requested him to allow Rishi Krishi (natural farming as propounded by ancient Indian seers) expert Mohan Shankar Deshpande to give a brief talk at the Rashtriya Kisan Mela that was held here.
Deshpande's seminal Marathi book "Rishi Krishi" has been translated into Hindi and distributed all over the country by the central government.
Sanjay Sontakke, the Vidarbha coordinator of the Maharashtra Organic Farming Federation, introduced Deshpande to Singh and sought 10 minutes for a discourse on organic farming.
Incidentally, 70-year-old Deshpande is going to be one of the main speakers at a national seminar on organic farming being hosted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) -- the parent body of NRCC -- at New Delhi Nov 29.
"But Singh bluntly refused to let the NRCC forum to be used for the promotion of organic farming saying that he had a poor opinion of it," Sontakke told IANS. As many as 16 ICAR-affiliated research bodies as well as agricultural universities which actively promote organic farming had organised the farmers' fair jointly.
Confirming that he refused to let Deshpande address the farmers, Singh told IANS that he could not allow any talk on a technology that he has neither seen nor tested. "It was a citrus related function. What has the ICAR got to do with it?" Singh countered when it was pointed out to him that NRCC's parent body promotes organic farming.