The shift from natural farming to the rampant use of agro-chemicals has led to various lifestyle diseases in human beings. The use of the mortuary chemical, formalin, for the preservation of fish had shaken some of us out of our complacency, but not for long! We are back to eating fish without thinking of formalin.
We also eat chips, crispies, Chinese and fast foods without even knowing how much MSG, salts and oils are there in these foods. We are supposed to be Homo sapiens, a species capable of thinking for ourselves! Food is not just another four-letter word. We need food every single day. World Food Day (WFD) is celebrated on October 16 every year to remind us of this.
Extreme weather due to climate change, economic slowdown and conflict are leading to hunger and malnutrition. Conflict need not mean war: it can be conflict of interest as in a political conflict on river water that affects the breeding of fish due to changes in the salinity levels in estuaries. It can be mining rejects flowing into rivers, even a decade after mining is supposed to have stopped, sand mining or dredging of rivers, destruction of mangroves that can be seen all along the Atal Setu bridge.
Fortunately for us, GenNext is showing more concern for the environment than our generation has shown so far. Criticism does not change anything; affirmative action does. We have to thank Dr Claude Alvares and Adv Prashant Bhushan for legally preventing the Government of Goa from illegally renewing the mining leases that it had stopped in 2012. It has revived agriculture in the hinterland.
THE GREEN SCENE
The Government of Goa is promoting ‘Natural Farming,’ and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) will now get a fillip from the Goa College of Agriculture at Ela Farm, Old Goa.
Young minds can be inspired to do things differently. Thirty years of the ‘Green Heritage Festival of Plants & Flowers’ at SFX School complex, Siolim, North Goa, has spread the skills of growing plants and cooking to students across Goa.
The Konkan Fruit Fest, facilitated by the Botanical Society of Goa (BSG) with the CCP, Directorate of Agriculture, ICAR and Agriculture Universities from the neighbouring states, has provided a platform for the young and the old to know about, and access, fruit plants since 2003.
The students of the Don Bosco College of Agriculture, Sulcorna, benefitted from it, as well as the many fests, organized by Marius Fernandes in collaboration with the BSG and local hosts. As young graduates, these young men and women are making waves in Goa and leading the BSG.
Today, the BSG members are at the RRP Farrm in Nirankal, Ponda, to see the work of young Rajat Prabhu in commercial vegetable cultivation and the Karvi plants that flower once in eight years.
Growing food is a natural succession when one feels the need for healthy, organically grown food. Enjoy healthy food from today onward. The WFD 2022 theme is “Leave no one behind.”
The author is the former Chairman of the GCCI Agriculture Committee, CEO of Planter's Choice Pvt Ltd, Additional Director of OFAI and Garden Superintendent of Goa University, and has edited 18 books for Goa & Konkan