ORGANIC FARMING

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ORGANIC FARMING

 

Defining “Organic”:

Organic farming is a method of crop and livestock production that involves much more than choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones.

Organic production is a holistic system designed to optimize the productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock and people. The principal goal of organic production is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.

The general principles of organic production, from the Canadian Organic Standards (2006), include the following:

  • protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity and promote a sound state of health
  • maintain long-term soil fertility by optimizing conditions for biological activity within the soil
  • maintain biological diversity within the system
  • recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the enterprise
  • provide attentive care that promotes the health and meets the behavioural needs of livestock
  • prepare organic products, emphasizing careful processing, and handling methods in order to maintain the organic integrity and vital qualities of the products at all stages of production
  • rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems

 

Organic farming promotes the use of crop rotations and cover crops, and encourages balanced host/predator relationships. Organic residues and nutrients produced on the farm are recycled back to the soil. Cover crops and composted manure are used to maintain soil organic matter and fertility. Preventative insect and disease control methods are practiced, including crop rotation, improved genetics and resistant varieties. Integrated pest and weed management, and soil conservation systems are valuable tools on an organic farm. Organically approved pesticides include “natural” or other pest management products included in the Permitted Substances List (PSL) of the organic standards. The Permitted Substances List identifies substances permitted for use as a pesticides in organic agriculture. All grains, forages and protein supplements fed to livestock must be organically grown.

The organic standards generally prohibit products of genetic engineering and animal cloning, synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, synthetic drugs, synthetic food processing aids and ingredients, and ionizing radiation. Prohibited products and practices must not be used on certified organic farms for at least three years prior to harvest of the certified organic products. Livestock must be raised organically and fed 100 per cent organic feed ingredients.

Organic farming presents many challenges. Some crops are more challenging than others to grow organically; however, nearly every commodity can be produced organically.

Advantages of organic farming:

  1. It helps to maintain environment health by reducing the level of pollution.
  2. It reduces human and animal health hazards by reducing the level of residues in the product.
  3. It helps in keeping agricultural production at a sustainable level.
  4. It reduces the cost of agricultural production and also improves the soil health.
  5. It ensures optimum utilization of natural resources for short-term benefit and helps in conserving them for future generation.
  6. It not only saves energy for both animal and machine, but also reduces risk of crop failure.
  7. It improves the soil physical properties such as granulation, good tilth, good aeration, easy root penetration and improves water-holding capacity and reduces erosion.
  8. It improves the soil’s chemical properties such as supply and retention of soil nutrients, reduces nutrient loss into water bodies and environment and promotes favourable chemical reactions.

 

Limitations and implications of Organic farming :

 

There are a few limitations with organic farming such as;

  1.  Organic manure is not abundantly available and on plant nutrient basis it may be more expensive than chemical fertilizers if organic inputs are purchased.
  2. Production in organic farming declines especially during first few years, so the farmer should be given premium prices for organic produce.
  3. The guidelines  for organic production, processing, transportation and certification etc are beyond the understanding of ordinary Indian farmer.
  4. Marketing of organic produce is also not properly streamlined. There are a number of farms in India which have either never been chemically managed / cultivated or have converted back to organic farming because of farmers’ beliefs or purely for reason of economics. These thousands of farmers cultivating million acres of land are not classified as organic though they are. Their produce either sells in the open market along with conventionally grown produce at the same price or sells purely on goodwill and trust as organic through select outlets and regular specialized markets. These farmers may never opt for certification because of the costs involved as well as the extensive documentation that is required by certifiers.

 

REFRENCE:

 

1.www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/09-077.htm

2.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_farming

 

 

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