Chandigarh, Dec 16, 2014: Organic farming is expected to get a big boost in the region with the 5th edition of the National Organic Farming Convention with the theme of “Mainstreaming Organic Farming” set to be hosted in Chandigarh from February 28 to March 2, 2015. An estimated 1000 organic farmers from all over the country, along with 1000 other delegates, are expected to share their knowledge in the biennial conference of Organic Farming Association of India – OFAI, which is finally reaching North India after travelling to Central, Western, Eastern and Southern India. For the 5th Convention, National Institute for Technical Teachers’ Training & Research (NITTTR), Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) and Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM) are joining hands with OFAI.
Participating in the Convention will be a significant number of agricultural scientists, who in recent years have expressed a keen desire to contribute to the movement to grow food without synthetic chemicals and pesticides, and to regenerate natural resources. The venue will be the prestigious NITTTR, Sector 26, Chandigarh, an autonomous institution of government of India, funded by Ministry of Human Resource Development
The national convention is organised every two years by the Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI), India’s largest association of practising organic farmers.
This year’s convention coincides with the United National General Assembly declaring 2015 as the International Year of Soils (IYS) with the aim of increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of sustainable soil health for food security and sustaining ecosystem functions. This year a scientific conference is also being organised by the Indian Society for Agro Ecology and Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), Hyderabad as part of the Convention.
These national conventions are organised as open learning platforms for three days, where farmers and others learn from each other. During the event, organic farmers make power point presentations and share the various innovative and exciting techniques they have evolved on their own farms through their own creative efforts. They teach others, learn from each other and inspire one another. They eat organic food and visit nearby organic farmers. The Convention assumes greater significance given that it is being organised in Chandigarh, even as more reports emerge of the environmental and environmental health crises of Punjab and Haryana. Apart from this many of the sessions of the event will be telecast from NITTTR Educational Television Centre. It is hoped that farmers and researchers at around 20 different centres of the country will be connected through video conferencing and Google Hangout. Through this technology they will be able to interact live with each other. This will be unique experience by the use of social media on a massive scale.
Organic Food Festival & Kitchen Garden Workshops
In a major attempt to embed the convention in the lives of the citizens of Chandigarh tricity and around, the convention organisers are planning a series of people centric activities, including an exciting two-day Organic Food Festival and Workshops on Kitchen Gardening, at the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET), Sector 26. Organic farmers are working overtime to raise the several tonnes of organic produce that will be required to feed and supply to the citizens during the food festival and the hundreds attending the convention as well. The cultivation of organic food for the convention in fields in the vicinity of Chandigarh commenced more than 2 months ago under the active supervision of OFAI president Sarvdaman Patel.
Another unique feature of the convention is a separate gathering of seed-keepers, largely women. These participants are being invited to exhibit and share their heirloom seeds and indigenous varieties.
A total of 31 different committees and teams comprising mostly citizens of Chandigarh are working round the clock to ensure that every minute aspect of the convention is being looked into and taken care of.