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Himachal farmer gets Padma Shri for contribution to 'agriculture'
Mandi: Nek Ram Sharma, a farmer of Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district, has been conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award for his distinguished service in the field of agriculture, especially organic farming.
Sharma, the only Padma awardee from Himachal Pradesh, also expressed his gratitude to the government for this achievement. "I have been growing nine different grains through organic farming. This award has increased my responsibility towards my work even more. I used to do organic farming as a hobby and worked for it for up to 14 hours, but now I will have to work for 18 hours," Sharma said while speaking to ANI.
Nek Ram said there is a high need to shun the use of fertilizers in farming.
Suggesting the government find ways to incorporate organic farming, he said, "Organic farming should be further promoted and children should be educated at this level from schools."
I started my work around 1980. I used to use insecticides and pesticides, but now things have changed.
"I have a pomegranate farm. Pests are never harmful in the wild so they should not be killed. They are actually helpful. We had to figure out a way to ensure it did not cause trouble during farming. So we developed a special mixture for pest control. At present, my pomegranate farm is pest free because of the new method I adopted," he said.
Praising the 'International Year of Millets 2023', Sharma said, "People have become aware after the announcement of the International Year of Millets. Earlier there were fewer diseases when people used to get food products directly from the jungles. Now, in order to earn money, people are involved in unethical practices which are causing a lot of diseases in the farm produce."
The Government of India spearheaded the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution for declaring the year 2023 as the 'International Year of Millets' and the proposal of India was supported by 72 countries.
UNGA declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets in March 2021. January 2023 is the focussed-month for the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, and the States of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, and Rajasthan for conducting events and activities related to the millets year. (ANI)