In 1the 940s Lord Northbourne coined the term organic farming in his book “look to the land” and Albert Howard came to be known as the father of organic farming.
“With wrong farming methods, we turn fertile land into desert. Unless we go back to organic farming and save the soil, there is no future.”
“ Organic farming appealed to me because it involved searching for and discovering nature’s pathways, as opposed to the formulaic approach of chemical farming. The appeal for organic farming is boundless; this mountain has no top, this river has no end.”
Many people became crazy when chemicals were introduced into farms because of what they could do. Yields were examined and the soil was initially in good shape. Chemical fertilisers did not cause much damage or hardly any. The pesticides had not shown resistance to the pests. As a result, the agricultural revolution occurred and technology expanded over the world.
Today many consumers are once again fascinated by organic farming after realising that conventional farming methods cause plenty of issues, including cancer, pollution, soil and water deterioration, and negative effects on domestic animals and much more.
WHAT IS ORGANIC FARMING
Organic farming is a technique, which includes the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals in natural ways. Organic farming techniques rely on naturally occurring biological processes coupled with scientific knowledge of ecology and some modern technology in organic farming processes.
To put it another way, organic farming is a process of growing and nurturing crops without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are prohibited.
In today’s world, greater awareness of environmental issues among society has changed the supply-driven organic movement into a demand-driven movement. Yields of organic crops are found to be 25% lower than conventionally grown crops, but this can vary considerably depending upon the type of crop.
CHARACTERISTICS/FEATURES OF ORGANIC FARMING
- Protecting soil fertility for the long term by increasing organic matter levels, boosting soil biological activity, and using methods like cover crops, green manures, animal manures, and crop rotation
- Nitrogen self-sufficiency through legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as effective organic waste recycling, such as crop leftovers and livestock manures.
- Use of crop rotations, natural predators, biological diversity, organic manures, resistant varieties, and proper thermal, biological, and chemical intervention to control weeds, diseases, and pests.
- Detailed livestock (domestic animals) management, taking into consideration evolutionary adaptations, behavioural needs, and animal welfare issues in diet, shelter, healthcare, reproduction, and raising
- Rigorous assessment of the farming system’s impact on the larger environment, as well as animal and natural habitat conservation.
- Focus on renewable resources, soil and water conservation, and management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological balance.
FERTILIZERS USED IN ORGANIC FARMING
- Green manure(crop residue)
- Humic acid
- Grain meal
- Amino acids
- Seaweed extracts
- Liquid kelp
- Fish and fish byproducts
- Alfalfa Meal
- Agricultural lime/Aglime/Limestone
- Chicken litter
- Animal by-products
- Bone & blood meal
- Sewage sludge/biosolids
- Rock phosphate
- Wood chips/Sawdust
TECHNIQUES AND PRACTICES USED IN ORGANIC FARMING
- Crop rotation and polyculture
- Companion planting
- Biological/Natural pest and weed control
- Mixed cropping
- Effective microorganisms(EM)
- Homa farming(Agnihotra)
- Indigenous seeds
- Integration of systems
- Living fence
- Microbial biofertilizers
- Multipurpose trees
- Reduced tillage/No-tillage
- Water harvesting and soil conservation
- Mulching, Green manuring and cover cropping
- Fostering of insect predators
REASONS WHY ORGANIC FARMING IS A NEW NORM
Reap the nutritional benefits
In comparison to conventional farms, organic farms provide foods that are rich in vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and other micronutrients. This is because organic farms are managed and nourished using environmentally friendly methods.
Past researchers have collected and examined vegetables, fruits, and cereals from both organic and conventional farms. Food from organic farms had much more nutrients than food from commercial or conventional farms, according to the findings.
Genetically modified organisms(GMOs) are avoided
According to statistics, genetically modified foods are infiltrating natural food supplies at an alarming rate, with disastrous consequences that are beyond our understanding. They are a huge danger because they aren’t even labelled. As a result, the only way to avoid the harmful consequences of GMOs is to eat organic foods from trusted sources.
Natural and more flavorful
Those who have tried organically grown foods may attest to the fact that they have a more natural flavour. The well-balanced and nutritious soil is responsible for the natural and outstanding flavour. Quality is always prioritised by organic producers over quantity.
Focuses assistance on agriculture
Buying food from organic farms is a good choice for a future that is both affordable and sustainable. Most governments have provided substantial subsidies and tax concessions to traditional farming practices in recent years. The growth of commercially manufactured food has resulted in a rise in hazardous illnesses such as cancer
Now governments are investing in organic agricultural technology to address these issues and ensure the future. It all begins with you purchasing food from reputable organic sources.
Keeps agricultural diversity alive
Extinct species are becoming more common these days, and this should be a big worry. It is estimated that 75% of the agricultural diversity of crops was wiped off in the previous century alone. Skewing toward one type of agriculture will lead to tragedy in the future.
This is a hazardous scenario because if pests eliminate the remaining species, we will no longer have potatoes. To ensure a sustainable future, we need organic agricultural practices that yield disease and pest-resistant crops.
Antibodies, drugs, and hormones ought not to be present in animal products.
Dangerous chemicals are extremely likely to contaminate commercial dairy and meat. According to a study, published in an American publication, meat tissues and dairy products account for approximately 90% of the chemicals consumed by the general public.
The great majority of pesticides ingested by the population come from poultry, meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products, according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), because the animals and birds that generate these goods are at the top of the food chain.
This implies they’re given food that’s high in chemicals and poisons. These animals are also injected with drugs, antibodies, and growth hormones, which are then transmitted to meat and dairy products. Hormone supplements provided to farmed fish, meat, and dairy products significantly lead to chemical ingestion. These drugs only come with a slew of side effects, including genetic issues, cancer risks, tumour growth, and other issues at the start of puberty.
NEED OF ORGANIC FARMING
With the population growth, we would be required not only to maintain but also to increase agricultural production sustainably. Scientists have discovered that the green revolution, which relied heavily on inputs, has reached a halt and is now being maintained by a declining return on falling dividends.
The world’s population is rapidly increasing, making it increasingly difficult to feed everyone. Food for all is in desperate need of sustainable cultivation and production. As dividends decline and yields become unsustainable, the green revolution and its chemical-based technology are losing favour. Other negative externalities generated by the usage of fossil fuel-based chemicals include pollution and climate change.
As a result, for the survival of life and property, a natural balance must be preserved at all costs.
BENEFITS OF ORGANIC FARMING
Improved Dietary Habits
Organic food is considerably more nutrient-dense. The mineral and vitamin composition of a food item determine its nutritional value. Organic farming improves soil nutrients, which are then passed on to plants and animals.
Assists Us In Maintaining Our Health
Organic farming does not employ chemicals at any step of the food production process. Natural farming practises are used by organic farmers, which are neither hazardous to humans nor the environment. These nutrients help to prevent illnesses like cancer and diabetes.
Free From Toxins
Poisonous chemicals, insecticides, and weedicides are not used in organic farming. According to research, a substantial portion of the population that consumes hazardous chemicals employed in conventional farming has developed illnesses such as cancers, tumours, etc. Because organic farming avoids these pollutants, it lowers the number of illnesses and disorders associated with them.
Organic Foods Have A High Level Of Trustworthiness
Any product that wants to be classified as organic food must go through a series of quality inspections and have the manufacturing process thoroughly scrutinised. International markets follow the same rules. For consumers, this is a huge win since they are getting true organic food. Quacks who wish to profit from the organic food label by supplying commercially made goods are weeded out by these quality tests and inquiries
The flavour of food also influences its quality. Organic food is frequently superior to other foods in terms of flavour. Organically produced fruits and vegetables have more sugar, which gives them a richer flavour. Brix analysis may be used to assess the quality of fruits and vegetables.
Extended Storage Life
Organic plants have a cellular structure that is more metabolically and structurally sound than conventional crops. This allows organic food to be stored for extended periods.
Organic farming is chosen because it prevents pests and weeds without using hazardous chemicals, has fewer input costs for production, and maintains ecological balance while encouraging biological variety and environmental preservation.
Farmers may find organic farming to be a feasible alternative in economic approach. However, there are several obstacles, such as the lack of agricultural instruments (synth, seed drill, seed marker, micro rotavators) for all of them, their lack of awareness of new technologies in organic farming and waste management, and their unwillingness to utilise smaller machines together.
Being open to various organic methods for tackling manufacturing difficulties is one key to success. Determine the root of the problem and consider measures to avoid or mitigate the long-term issue rather than a quick remedy.
14 Oct 2021