Kota, 7th September 2017: The
farmers from the surrounding villages of the ACC Lakheri Cement Works have
dared to dream. They are slowly adopting organic farming aided by technical
inputs provided by ACC through the LEISA (Low External Input for Sustainable
Agriculture)
initiative and hope that one day the region would be known as the
Organic Farming Hub of Rajasthan. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a
single step, and that step has been taken at Lakheri.
The
organic farming initiative is spread across 550 hectares of farmland covering
350 farmer families of the surrounding ten villages of the Lakheri plant.
Farmers
were sensitized and organized into farmer clubs in each village and linked with
the Department of Agriculture, Horticulture, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, NABARD and
Agriculture University
to avail the benefits under various government schemes
and programs.
Promotion
of good agricultural practices was started with a subset of the Farmer’s Club
members where five to ten progressive farmers from each village were identified
to demonstrate the best practices in their fields. Demonstration plots were set
up and farmers were supported and guided with field preparation, soil testing,
seed treatment, selection of crop varieties, improved crop cultivation
practices and right doses of manure etc. by the scientists of Krishi Vigyan
Kendra Bundi
and other partner agencies.
To
promote organic farming, the farmers were supported and trained in setting up
vermi-compost units and in the preparation of organic manure and organic
pesticides. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides were completely replaced with
bio fertilizers and bio pesticides from the demonstration plots. 
155
vermi-compost units were established at farmer fields where compost was
prepared using farm waste and animal dung. The farmers were also encouraged to
start using organic culture and fungicides.
Speaking
about the success of LEISA in the region, Mr. Neeraj Akhoury, Managing Director
& CEO, ACC Limited said,
“The response
to organic produce in the Lakheri town, where most of the produce is sold, has
been very encouraging. Customers are willing to pay a premium price for the
organic produce given the quality of the produce. The farmers that are adopting
organic farming are increasing in number rapidly and it can be expected that the
entire belt will soon be completely organic given the manner in which the
region is accepting LEISA.”
Commenting
on the positive impact of LEISA, Morpal Gujar, a farmer at Lakheri said,
ACC
in association with the Srijan India has transformed the lives of farmers in
Lakheri. The ACC team brought together experts to educate us on various organic
farming methods and exhibited their implementation. Due to these efforts, we
have evolved from practicing subsistence agriculture and are now an organic
farming hub that can produce a variety of different crops. Organic farming has
also helped us in reducing our expenditure on pesticides and chemical
fertilizers, amounting to a saving of Rs 7000-8000 per farmer per year.”


To
take the next step towards making the project area an organic hub, individual
farmers will be registered for producing certified organic produce, by
establishing ‘multiple farmer producers organization.’ The Rajasthan State Seed
and Organic Production Certification Agency
has laid out norms for such
certifications. As organic farming becomes more pervasive, farmers with
contiguous land holdings under organic farming would be facilitated to obtain
certification as Organic Grower Group.  

About ACC

ACC Limited, part of the LafargeHolcim Group, is
one of India’s leading producers of cement and ready mixed concrete. With 7800
employees, 17 cement manufacturing sites, 50 concrete plants, a nationwide
network of over 50,000 retail outlets and an R&D centre in Mumbai, the
quality of ACC’s products and services, as well as its commitment to
technological development, make it a preferred brand in building materials.
Established in 1936, ACC is counted among the country’s “Most Sustainable
Companies”
and it is recognized for its best practices in environment
management and corporate citizenship.





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