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Sadhguru Exclusive: 'Organic farming is urban nonsense'

"Do not prescribe any kind of farming to anybody. When you say natural farming, I understand you are trying to improve the quality of the soil. But instead of that focus on one item. There is only one problem -- there is not enough organic content in the soil," spiritual leader Sadhguru tells Asianet Newsable in an exclsuive interview

Exclusive Isha Foundation Sadhguru speaks to Asianet News on save soil movement
New Delhi, First Published Jul 3, 2022, 8:00 AM IST

"There is no such thing as organic farming. They are just making up these words. This is all urban nonsense," said spiritual leader Sadhguru in an exclusive conversation with Asianet News. The Isha Foundation founder recently completed his 100-day Save Soil journey at Cauvery Basin that saw him travel to 27 nations in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East and connect with 3.9 billion people, including scientists, policymakers, heads of governments, elected representatives and celebrities. 

Also Read: Why Sadhguru rode this super-cool BMW bike for Save Soil journey

Interacting with Asianet News Chief Reporter Anoop Balachandran, Sadhguru said that the urban population knows nothing about farming. Sadhguru said: "This is all being propagated by the urban population who know nothing about farming. You don't tell the farmer how he should do farming. Today, organic farming means no fertiliser and no pesticide. If you do that today, food production in the world will come down to 25 per cent -- that is death." 

"If the organic content in the soil increases, the usage of fertilisers will start sliding down by itself. That is the way it has to happen. If you say you don't like fertilisers, stop it. You and I are alive because of fertilisers. Because otherwise, we would have famines. Urban people should stop giving prescriptions for farming. Let the farmer decide how to farm because there is a lot of difference between this plot of land to that plot of land. People may not understand. But if you want the soil to be alive, give the farmer incentives to raise it above three per cent you will get this much incentive. Farmers will take it, " he added. 

Giving an example, Sadhguru said: "When you go to the market, they will say buy this mango it is organic. So somebody came to me when I was in Kurnool and gave me a mango saying 'Sadhguru, this is organic mango'. I said, 'Get me an inorganic one; I want to eat an inorganic one'. There is no such thing. You are just making up these words. This is all urban nonsense."

Challenges while spreading the 'Save Soil' message

"Fringe elements who activate resentment and anger, they get all the media visibility in the world and that makes everyone believe that's the way of the world, but it's not. You have to talk about igniting the humanity in each one of us. When anger and resentment are propagated maybe some people get excited, but never the whole society," 

Sadhguru said, "When I was thinking of how to design the campaign for soil because it is such a nascent subject. Everybody, including some of the journalists in UK, told me 'Sadhguru, this ain't going to fly; who is going to be excited about soil?' I said, the question is not about whether somebody is going to be excited or not. The question is where is the problem? Do you want to address the problem or do you want to pick up something that we think will work? I said we are going to address the problem, let us see how the world responds." 

"And I was very confident that if it is conveyed properly, people will respond. Either the scientists are talking -- though they have the facts -- they talk in a language that nobody understands. Activists are always talking about bashing up somebody. People are not talking about igniting the humanity in each one of us to see if anything happens," he added.

'Don't preach to the farmer; give him incentives'

When asked about how the save soil initiative will percolate down to the grassroots level, Sadhguru said: "This initiative needs to touch the government in a big way so that they will make incentive-based policies. It is a three-pronged incentive policy for the farmers. This won't work without that. What is the point of preaching to the farmer? His economic condition is such that if you touch it, it will collapse. It is in that state. You offer him -- right now, India's organic content on average is 0.68 per cent. If you offer that if he gets it 3 per cent, we will give you this much money, most farmers will go for it."

"And then there is carbon credit scheme, market recognition -- these things need to happen. Everybody is saying, why don't you talk to the farmers. Because you neither understand the problem nor the solution. What is the point of talking to a farmer who is barely trying to live a life? he needs incentives," he added.

Message to the Government

Asked about whether he had any radical ideas for soil conservation and about the feedback he had received from the Indians, Sadhguru said: "My message to the government is just this. Do not prescribe any kind of farming to anybody. When you say natural farming, I understand you are trying to improve the quality of the soil. But instead of that focus on one item. There is only one problem -- there is not enough organic content in the soil. How will you put it there? You can only do it by bringing plant life and animal life." 

"If you just set up a substantial incentive, instead of giving so many subsidies in diverse ways, you make it result-oriented. Right now, the carbon credit market is only for the industry, farmers cannot make use of it. We must simplify the carbon credit market for the farmers. Next, there should be a recognition in the market -- if my produce comes from 3 per cent organic content, it must be recognised and priced accordingly because the volume of food that people are eating will come down significantly if the nutrients are very high in the food. Right now, nutrients are not enough. So people tend to eat more and more. The body doesn't need food, it needs nutrients. So if the nutrient value goes up, the consumption of food will come down and that will do tremendous things for mankind," he added.

Also Read: Save Soil Movement: 15 significant facts you must know

Also Read: Save Soil movement: Story of a civil engineer's organic coconut farm

Also Read: What Sadhguru, on 'Save Soil' mission, told the Saudis in Riyadh

Also Read: Save Soil Movement: PM Modi lauds efforts to protect environment

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