"All the 14 districts of Maharashtra affected by farmers' suicide should be declared as organic farming zones, thus banning use of chemicals in form of fertilisers, pesticides, micro nutrients and other toxic substances used in cultivation and post cultivation processes," activist Kishor Tiwari said.

"This will reduce the cost of cultivation by over 50 percent and is only way to provide safe and poison free food to the people," said the president of Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission, which was constituted as a task force to redress the hardship of farmers.

"The acute distress in more than 5 million cotton growing dry land farms at present is a result of a complete failure of chemical farming. It has not only increased debts and cost of cultivation but also caused soil degradation," he added.

Tiwari, who has been accorded the status of Minister of State, said, chemicals also increases resistivity of viruses causing epidemic attacks. Unregulated use of chemicals and unsafe technology has been one of the main causes of farmer suicides.

"Thus, to address the distress in farmers' suicide prone areas, sustainable agriculture and a holistic non-chemical farming is only ray of hope," he said.

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