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The Next Big Thing & Need of Time : Organic Farming

Category : All, Farming, Healthy Living · by Mar 14th, 2015

Organic Farming and Poor Indian Farmer

Organic Farming when it comes to India, what we know about it? Are our farmers ready to let go chemicals, pesticides whether economically or mentally? Why organic farming is gaining importance worldwide but still at a nascent stage in a country of Farmers? What are we lacking- Confidence or Resources or Skill?

A farmer who has less knowledge about scientific methods, who cant access the information on internet, who cant read or write even in the mother tongue, do we know what he understood about organic Farming? The fact at grassroot level  shows some different picture.

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Women Indian Farmer

All a farmer wants is to feed his family, to pay his debts & if possible for him then to give his children education. When you ask a farmer that is he going to adopt organic farming?? You know what he will answer..he will ask you that will it improve my situation? By adopting it will I be able to feed my family??

Here are some facts about Organic Farming in India. But before that lets understand in a simple line for common man what is Organic Farming?

Organic Farming:

Organic farming is not about only farming without chemicals. It is also about the environment, agricultural traditions, traditional seeds, animal welfare, farming communities, sensible energy use, soil and water conservation. It is also about you and your family, your health and your welfare.

 

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Organic Farming & its Components

Why we need Organic Farming?

Organic agriculture is not just a source of safer, healthier, tastier food. It is an answer to rural poverty. Organic agriculture is not just a method of farming. It is saving the Earth and farmers’ lives.

High cost corporate agriculture is having adverse impact on the livelihood of farmers. The increasing cost of production and the falling prices combined with the decline in farm credit is putting great burden on farmers, which is pushing them to desperation. Since 1997, more than 250,000 farmers from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab have taken their lives.

The use of pesticides has led to enormous levels of chemical buildup in our environment, in soil, water, air, in animals and even in our own bodies. Fertilisers have a short-term effect on productivity but a longer-term negative effect on the environment where they remain for years after leaching and running off, contaminating ground water and water bodies. The use of hybrid seeds and the practice of monoculture has led to a severe threat to local and indigenous varieties, whose germplasm can be lost for ever. Pesticide and other chemical residues in food and an overall reduced quality of food have led to a marked increase in various diseases, mainly various forms of cancer and reduced bodily immunity.

It also has negative impact on farmers because long term use of chemicals has led to decreased productivity & deteriorated health of soil. This is where organic farming comes in. Organic farming has the capability to take care of each of these problems. Besides the obvious immediate and positive effects organic or natural farming has on the environment and quality of food, it also greatly helps a farmer to become self-sufficient in his requirements for agro-inputs and reduce his costs.

Myths about Organic Farming

  • Yields in organic farming are lower than chemical farming: Not so. When properly followed, yields in organic farming are, in the long run, far greater than those obtained by chemical farming. In horticulture crops, the effects are even better.
  • Organic farming is not economical: Again, not so. While certain practices such as composting and mulching do entail greater costs on account of labour, the overall cost of cultivation is usually lower than chemical farming.
  • You can’t supply enough nutrients by using composts: This is a common argument put to use by all detractors of organic farming, especially academicians. If one calculates the percentages of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous in fertilisers and composts, the difference is indeed vast.
  • There is big money in organic farming: A myth propagated by over-enthusiastic supporters perhaps. So far in India, most organic farmers have turned organic because of their beliefs. The “organic market” exists for a small number of farmers who have access to a few specialised outlets. There are a few internationally-recognised agencies operating from India who inspect and certify organic farms.
  • The non-use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides is organic farming (or the use of organic manures is organic farming): The last important myth is that simply avoiding the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides is organic farming. That is not so. While organic farming is all about maintaining soil health, it entails producing the highest yields possible, in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner using a number of techniques.

 

The Official Status in India

As per a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) study of mid-2003, India had 1,426 certified organic farms producing approximately 14,000 tons of organic food / produce annually. In 2005, as per Govt. of India figures, approximately 190,000 acres (77,000 hectares) were under organic cultivation. The total production of organic food in India as per the same reference was 120,000 tons annually, though this largely included certified forest collections.

What we need today?

Currently, we have three major concerns : the rapid deterioration of our soil and natural environment; the continuing impoverishment of our rural population; and skill gap for adopting organic farming

The concern for soil health and farmers of our country demands us to make drastic changes in our own farming practices. We must move close to what is called ‘natural farming’, pioneered in Japan by Masanobu Fukuoka. Natural farming is ideally a quest for realising the underlying unity of soil, plants and animals, including ourselves.

We must develop confidence for organic farming in our farmers. We need to train them for scientific methods, for bio fertilizers, bio-pesticides & more scientific practices. We have very few training centers which provide specialized training in organic farming. Research centers, agriculture universities, NGO’s, voluntary organizations must come forward & train or farmers to adopt organic farming & also there is a need to provide them market for Organic Farming & also the appropriate cost for their products. Only then we will be able to motivate our farmers to adopt this practice.

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