Organic Farming

Context

A webinar on ‘Doubling farmers’ income in Odisha by 2022 with focus on organic farming’ was organised by Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) here, Friday. In the national-level webinar, Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, called for undertaking organic farming in indigenous way and emphasised on sale of more and more organic products.

What is Organic Farming?

  • Organic farming is a technique, which involves the cultivation of plants and rearing of animals in natural ways. This process involves the use of biological materials, avoiding synthetic substances to maintain soil fertility and ecological balance thereby minimizing pollution and wastage.
  • In other words, organic farming is a farming method that involves growing and nurturing crops without the use of synthetic based fertilizers and pesticides. Also, no genetically modified organisms are permitted.
  • It relies on ecologically balanced agricultural principles like crop rotation, green manure, organic waste, biological pest control, mineral and rock additives. Organic farming makes use of pesticides and fertilizers if they are considered natural and avoids the use of various petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved…

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)

Key Features of Organic Farming

  • Protecting soil quality using organic material and encouraging biological activity
  • Indirect provision of crop nutrients using soil microorganisms
  • Nitrogen fixation in soils using legumes
  • Weed and pest control based on methods like crop rotation, biological diversity, natural predators, organic manures and suitable chemical, thermal and biological intervention
  • Rearing of livestock, taking care of housing, nutrition, health, rearing and breeding
  • Care for the larger environment and conservation of natural habitats and wildlife

Organic Farming and Sustainable Development

The concept of sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals—environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. The concept of sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The very basic approach to organic farming for the sustainable environment includes the following :

  • Improvement and maintenance of the natural landscape and agro-ecosystem.
  • Avoidance of overexploitation and pollution of natural resources.
  • Minimization of the consumption of non-renewable energy resources.
  • Exploitation synergies that exist in a natural ecosystem.
  • Maintenance and improve soil health by stimulating activity or soil organic manures and avoid harming them with pesticides.
  • Optimum economic returns, with a safe, secure, and healthy working environment.
  • Acknowledgement of the virtues of indigenous know-how and traditional farming system.

The increase in the cost of production by the use of pesticides and fertilizers in conventional farming and its negative impact on farmer’s health affect economic balance in a community and benefits only go to the manufacturer of these pesticides. Continuous degradation of soil fertility by chemical fertilizers leads to production loss and hence increases the cost of production which makes the farming economically unsustainable. Implementation of a strategy encompassing food security, generation of rural employment, poverty alleviation, conservation of the natural resource, adoption of an export-oriented production system, sound infrastructure, active participation of government, and private-public sector will be helpful to make revamp economic sustainability in agriculture

Organic Farming in India

  • In India, in 2016, the northern state of Sikkim achieved its goal of converting to 100% organic farming.
  • Other states of India, including Kerala, Mizoram, Goa, Rajasthan, and Meghalaya, have also declared their intentions to shift to fully organic cultivation.
  • The South Indian state Andhra Pradesh is also promoting organic farming, especially Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) which is a form of regenerative agriculture.
  • As of 2018, India has the largest number of organic farmers in the world and constitutes to more than 30% of the organic farmers globally.
  • India has 835,000 certified organic producers.

Sources

  1. Orissa Post
  2. Organic farming in India: a vision towards a healthy nation by Suryatapa Das, Annalakshmi Chatterjee, Tapan Kumar Pal
  3. Conserve Energy Future Official Website
  4. Wikipedia

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