“We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity.” – E. O. Wilson
The system of organic farming is different from traditional farming. Organic farming aims to retain the soil properties by using biological materials such as organic wastes (crop residue, animal manure, aquatics wastes, etc.). In traditional farming, chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used which degrade the soil and negatively impact the environment and ecology.
Organic farming focuses on ecological balance through crop rotation, green manures, organic waste, and biological pest control. It avoids using petrochemical synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. It also helps to decrease soil erosion and adapt the local solution for the local conditions. Organic farming can also be defined as a system of Management and Agriculture production according to the environment and eco friendly to preserve and conserve the natural resources and bring sustainability in the agriculture sector.
Organic farming is famous in various regions through various names, like;
- Vedic farming
- Natu eco-farming
- Homoeo farming
- Agnihotra farming
- Biodynamic farming
- Zero budget natural farming
All the above-mentioned names belong to organic farming which mainly focuses on farming according to the requirement of nature and minimizes the external cost of Agricultural production.
Advantages of Organic Farming;
1. It will reduce input cost because of the use of the indigenous style of farming where less external cost will be required to buy fertilizer, electricity, and others things.
2. It will increase the fertility of soil because there are no synthetic chemical-induced fertilizers and pesticides used in farming which lead to quality production.
3. It will reduce groundwater contamination as in the other farming methods the synthetic chemicals releases toxic substances which enter into the groundwater. Hence, due to the no use of chemicals such things could be avoided in organic farming.
4. It will conserve the biodiversity and resources as it uses in an efficient manner of natural resources.
5. It will also provide health benefits as chemical-induced agriculture production harms our body and increase the toxic concentration in our body but organic farming has no such bad effects.
6. It will also help to produce climate-resilient agriculture. The efficient use of natural resources leads to sustainable agriculture.
7. Quality of land is also improved because it will reduce the pollution of water and air
8. It will also set an example of waste to wealth as we are using the same agriculture production for next season again and again.
9. It will improve the farmer’s income as the organic product demands are increasing day by day and organic products can be used as a raw material for the food industries.
10. It will help achieve sustainable development goal number 3 related to health because various diseases are caused by unbalanced food and contaminated agriculture products.
11. It will also provide the opportunity to diversify crop production which will lead to sustainable agriculture.
Differences between chemical-induced agriculture (or traditional farming) and organic farming:
1. In chemical-induced agriculture farming, before sowing the seed there is a need to prepare soil through chemicals whereas, in organic farming zero tillage method is used in which residues of previous crops are used as manure with bio ingredients like bonemeal ashes and animal waste to prepare the soil.
2. In the chemical-induced agriculture method of farming, before planting, the seeds soak the fungicides and pesticides and some chemicals which are used in irrigation water. However, in organic farming, biological wastes mixed with seeds are used before sowing to kill harmful bacteria. In organic farming natural rains are used for irrigation.
3. In chemical-induced agriculture farming, when seed sprouts, weedicides are used to remove weeds which negatively impact soil and reduce the fertility of the soil. However, In organic farming, it’s done by manual labour to save soil and keep it alive. As it is labour intensive the cost of production increases. But it’s product is healthy than the chemical-induced agriculture methods of farming.
4. Organic products affect the body positively and reduce the negative impact on the body from the harmful pesticides, fertilizers, and weedicides used in chemical-induced agriculture methods.
The FSSAI defines organic farming as a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem of agriculture production without using synthetic chemicals.
Organic farming in India:
Almost 60% of the Indian population depends on the agriculture sector. Hence, it is important to make the agriculture sector sustainable. So need of the hour is Organic farming.
As of now, India is first in the number of organic farmers and 9th in the organically farmed land area in the World.
Sikkim is the first state of India in the world which is a fully organic state, declared in 2016.
The Government of India is focusing to make organic farming as primary farming because of the various advantages (mentioned above).
The green revolution in India provided some negative impacts on our agriculture system. It created regional imbalance and ecological imbalance also the cash crops are most dominated. Since healthy crops depend on fertilizers and pesticides that increase too much load to unsustainable practices and also increase the burden of farmers due to debt trap in the indigenous banking system leads farmers suicide.
So organic farming is a good option and opportunity to work for sustainable agriculture. Organic farming has some problems and limitations such as;
- Productivity is decreased as compared to chemical-induced agriculture
- The initial cost is high to arrange the indigenous breeds of crops and investment in green manure.
- Skilled labour is needed to manage the farming.
- Poor shelf life of organic products
- The dull appearance of the product creates less impact on the customer.
- Certification of organic products is problematic like complex and hectic in nature.
- Poor marketing and awareness by stakeholders.
- The product rate is high which leads to less export as compared to other products in the competitive market.
- Poor availability of cold chain, storage, and markets.
- It can not be produced in all regions due to deficiency in soil nutrients.
Constraints in organic farming are like;
- No organics policy for domestic Market
- Absence of standard regulations on labeling and logo
- Supply chain is poor and irregular
- Only 2.78 million ha or 2% of total land sown is used for organic farming.
Some steps taken by the government to improve organic farming;
1. National mission on sustainable agriculture is mandated by the Sustainable Agriculture Mission which is one of the eight Missions outlined under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
2. focusing on ten key dimensions encompassing Indian agriculture namely improved crop seeds livestock and fish culturesWater Use EfficiencyPest Management improved Farm PracticesNutrient ManagementAgricultural insurance credit support market access to Information and livelihood diversifications
3. Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) was launched in 2015 to encourage chemical-free farming.
4. National Javeek Krishi Kendra in which green manures are developed to reduce dependence on synthetic fertilizer it improves the microorganism in the soil.
5. Soil health card issued card in which detail of the soil provided for its nutrients deficiency and recommend crops for production.
6. Organic farming can resolve many problems with its implementation, the only thing is to remove the constraints and take the corrective measures which can ensure that the state becomes responsible and contribution towards organic India and traditional India.
“I can’t imagine anything more important than air, water, soil, energy, and biodiversity. These are the things that keep us alive.” – David Suzuki
This article is written by;
Mr. Pankaj Kumar Gupta
(Email ID: [email protected])