Green initiative: Pune township takes up ‘urban agriculture’

Pune: A unique concept of "urban agriculture" is taking shape on a massive stretch of land in a mega township which is part of the burgeoning metropolis.
Spread across 700 acres, 'Nanded city', which houses a population of about 10,000 residents, launched a green project coinciding with the World Environment Day on June 5.
The venture envisages growing vegetables, fruits, medicinal and aromatic plants and flowers to cater the needs of the local residents.
"For sustainable agriculture, the principles of organic farming, poly-culture in place of mono-culture, crop rotation, use of recycled water, compost, integrated pest management and sericulture will be put in use.
"All types of trees, shrubs and grass crops will be planted in multi-level planting, ensuring optimum use of inputs and increasing sustainability," said Satish Magar, Chairman and Managing Director of the Nanded project.
Explaining salient features of the "urban agriculture" within the city to a group of visiting journalists, he said, "an extensive plantation of coconut, guava and amla orchards in addition to about 5,000 mango trees has been undertaken in the eco-supporting drive to mark the World Environment Day.
"The open area between tree rows in the orchards will be utilised for growing a wide variety of vegetables required for daily consumption of the resident population throughout the year to make it a self-sufficient unit." 
Nanded residents will be invited to participate in the cultivation and harvesting under the Urban Agriculture Project (UAP), Magar said, adding that the produce of urban farming will also be made available at outlets in the town.
Located in one of the greenest and serene parts of South Western Pune in close proximity to Mumbai-Bangalore highway, near the historic Sinhagad fort, the UAP of the Nanded city will also include conversion of natural streams in the area into an "eco-stream" park for promoting agro-tourism.