Agriculture is the keystone of existence of human. For the flourishing of any civilization, agriculture must be healthy and sustainable.
As I talk about organic farming, you must first know what it means. In simple words, it is a technique in which cultivation of plants and rearing of animals is done in natural ways i.e. without applying synthetic based pesticides as well as fertilizers. Also, Genetically modified organisms are not allowed.
It depends on ecologically balanced agricultural principles which are crop rotation, cultural practices, organic waste, biological pest control, green manure, mineral, rock additives etc.
And therefore, Organic food is food produced by methods which are in accordance with the standards of organic farming. Standards differ globally, but organic farming features practices which advances ecological balance, cycle resources as well as conserve biodiversity.
Since its demand is increasing day by day, we must definitely know about its benefits.
- Organic food is no doubt safe, clean, less hazardous to life, providing better nutritional value.
- By this farming, soil fertility and ecological balance is maintained which minimizes pollution and wastage. It is environmental friendly production and more sustainable as it uses fewer chemicals and the residue is comparatively less chemical-intensive.
- Climate change is a prevalent problem of the present time. We know that industries and automobiles are the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions but it should also be noted that agriculture is also one of the major contributors to climate change.
For example: Urea is widely and most commonly used fertilizer. It releases Nitrous oxide (N2O) which is a strong greenhouse gas. 1 kg of N2O causes damage as 298 kg of CO2 does. Organic farming has made an important place around the globe since it helps in combating it by cutting down greenhouse gas emissions.
- If practiced efficiently, it will help in minimizing the problems of farmers and also suicides since it will reduce their dependence on farming inputs like fertilizers and pesticides.
- It not only improves the health of the consumer, but also of the soil as organic wastes such as decomposed plants, animal manure, bio-fertilisers etc. are used in this.
- Organic farming works with the systems which are present in environment to increase productivity. If we look from the organic view, it grows the base and increases productivity using the farm methods by consuming less energy like it also helps in retaining water.
- It helps in prevention of diseases occurring on a much larger scale in humans due to consumption of food with chemicals that are toxic.
- Since weeds, pests etc. also show resistance to certain chemicals in conventional farming, organic farming uses natural methods to deal with these problems.
- Animals which are reared organically like turkeys are provided with an organic, non-GMO diet which is much healthy for human consumption.
- Governments around the world are launching different schemes for favouring and promoting it. In academics too, courses are being launched to teach it. Various conferences, seminars etc. are held around the world regarding organic farming and various researches are taking place to improve it.
Now, let us also look into the challenges in organic farming:
- Organic farming regulations like lengthy bureaucratic procedures are required in getting certification for adopting this practice.
- Organic inputs like bio-fertilisers, bio-pesticides, organic seeds etc. are limited in supply in comparison to chemical ones.
- It requires different equipments, other investments to start and also requires more time and patience than conventional farming. So, organic products are a bit costly than conventional farming products.
- It requires different grain storage facilities and transportation networks than conventional farming.
- More organic specialists are needed in university extension offices and other places to raise awareness about it and also to solve problems. There is a necessity to establish bodies which can assist farmers to get over the troubles, to spread awareness about organic farming, and to make sure about the accessibility of organic inputs, seeds and pesticides. Agencies also must assist farmers with bio-fertilisers by setting up required facilities.
- It’s not a matter of simply turning from chemical sprayers. Farmers should learn to handle soil nutrients without chemical fertilizers and manage insects and weeds without herbicides and insecticides. It’s a steep learning curve.
- There must be good market linkage and supply chain for the farmers to sell their products. There is less knowingness among farmers about the current trends in agriculture like contract farming, which has the prospect to promote sustainability in organic farming.
Organic farming is the need of the hour. It is seeing remarkable overall development in almost all the crop types because of increase in awareness about food security and environmental safety. People are becoming health conscious today and are supporting the growth of the organic agricultural sector in numerous ways. More and more land is coming into organic farming. In future, it seems great boom and prominence in organic farming is what awaits for us.
She is pursuing Masters in Agricultural Biosciences from Technical University of Munich, Germany, after completing her Bachelors in Agriculture from India. She did certification course on Coronavirus disease offered by AACC Learning Lab for Laboratory Medicine on NEJM Knowledge+, Washington, DC, U.S.; World health organization (WHO), other courses from Commonwealth of Learning (COL CANADA), IIT Delhi and Kanpur, Nutritional Educational Programmes of Poshan Abhiyan by Ministry of Women and Child Development & Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Nutrition and did numerous internships.