The Government of India revealed the prestigious Padma Awards for the year 2023 on the eve of the 74th Republic Day. These honors were bestowed by President Draupadi Murmu, recognizing and honoring a total of 106 recipients for their exceptional contributions and achievements. Nek Ram Sharma, a dedicated farmer hailing from the picturesque Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh received the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2023. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the realm of agriculture, particularly in the domain of organic farming.

Padma Shri 2023 Nek Ram Sharma Mandi Himachal

Sharma, the sole recipient of the Padma Shri from Himachal Pradesh, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the government for bestowing this honor upon him. In an exclusive conversation, Nek Ram Sharma shared his journey, revealing that he cultivates a diverse array of nine grains using organic farming techniques. This award has not only acknowledged his dedication but has also amplified his sense of responsibility towards his agricultural pursuits. What once started as a passionate hobby now drives him to toil for up to 14 hours a day, spurred by this newfound recognition.

Sharma is committed to raising awareness among fellow farmers about the urgent need to reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers in agriculture. He firmly advocates the expansion of organic farming practices. And believes that children should be educated about it right from their school days. His journey began around 1980, marked by the cultivation of pomegranates. Sharma’s approach is typically one of environmental awareness. Recognizing their important role in maintaining ecological balance, he avoids harming insects in his fields. To ensure the harmony between cultivation and the environment, he ingeniously developed a special mixture for pest control. As a result of his innovative techniques, his pomegranate farm remains pest-free.

International Year of Millet 2023

In consonance with the ‘International Year of Millet 2023,’ Sharma emphasized the growing awareness surrounding millet cultivation. He reflected on the past when communities acquired food directly from forests, leading to fewer diseases. However, the pursuit of profit has introduced unethical practices into agriculture, resulting in a surge of diseases in agricultural produce. The Government of India, championing a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), successfully declared 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets,’ with the support of 72 countries.

As we delve deeper into 2023, the focus shifts to January, which has been designated as the pivotal month for millet-related initiatives by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, along with the states of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, and Rajasthan. It marks a collective effort to promote the virtues of millet cultivation and its significance in fostering sustainable agriculture.


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