1. The burgeoning population pressure has forced many countries to use chemicals and fertilizers to increase farm productivity for meeting their ever-increasing food requirements. The prolonged and over usage of chemicals has, however, resulted in human and soil health hazards along with environmental pollution.
2. Farmers in developed countries are, therefore, being encouraged to convert their existing farms into organic farms. Organic farming is a production system that avoids, or largely excludes, the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. The objectives of environmental, social, and economic sustainability are the basics of organic farming.
The key characteristics include protecting the long-term fertility of the soil by maintaining organic matter levels, fostering soil biological activity, careful mechanical intervention, nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, effective recycling of organic materials including crop residues and livestock wastes, and weed, and diseases and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, and resistant varieties
3. Typical organic farming practices include:-
(a) Use of crop rotation as a prerequisite for an efficient way of using on-site resources
(b) Very strict limits on the use of chemical synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
(c) Not using food additives, livestock antibiotics, and processing aids, and other inputs
(d) Total ban on the use of genetically modified organisms
(e) Taking advantage of readily available resources, such as livestock manure as farm fertilizer or the feed that is produced on the farm.
(f) Choosing suitable plant and animal species that are somehow resistant to disease and are adapted to the local conditions.
(g) Raising livestock in open-air systems and feeding them with organic feed.
(h) Using appropriate animal husbandry practices.
4. 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. This method involves growing and nurturing crops without the use of synthetic-based fertilizers and pesticides and 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 only if they are considered natural and avoids the use of various petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides.
5. 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 good quality of life for all involved.
Concept of Organic Farming in India
6. Organic farming endorses the concept that the soil, plant, animals, and human beings are linked. In philosophical terms, organic farming means “farming in sprits of organic relationship”. In this system, everything is connected with everything else. Therefore, its goal is to create an integrated, environmentally sound, safe, and economically sustainable agriculture production system
7. Since organic farming means placing farming on integral relationship, we should be well aware of the relationship between the soil, water, and plants, between soil, soil microbes, and waste products, between the vegetable kingdom and the animal kingdom of which the apex animal is the human being, between agriculture and forestry, and lastly between soil, water and atmosphere, etc. It is the totality of these relationships that is the bedrock of organic farming.
8. Organic farming is based on the development of biological diversity and the maintenance and replenishment of soil productivity. The soil in this system is a living entity. The total environment of the soil, from soil structure to soil cover is of great importance and accordingly, it is protected and nurtured at all cost.
9. The basic principle is to feed the soil and it will feed the crop. The soil’s living population of microbes and other organisms are significant contributors to its fertility on a sustained basis. It conserves soil fertility and soil erosion through the implementation of appropriate conservation practices.
Principles of Organic Farming in India
10. There are four principles of organic farming in India as mentioned below:-
(a) Principles of Health – The principle of health in organic agriculture refers to the health of ecosystems, as well as the health of people and communities. Healthy soil produces healthy crops, and in turn, healthy produce leads to healthy animals and humans. Good health is imperative to our mental and physical wellbeing; it also increases our immunity and allows our body to regenerate. Organic agriculture aims to provide healthy food that is nutritious and of superior quality. By not using fertilizers, pesticides, and additives, organic food plays an extra part in aiding good health.
(b) The Principles of Ecology – Organic farms are based on an ecological system that balances with the environment and nature, including recycling and taking care of the ecosystem. Ecological balance includes managing conditions and culture; and farmers, producers, traders, and consumers should take environmental protection on board. Air, water, biodiversity, climate, and land needs to be protected and can be done through the use of high-tech farming systems.
(c) Principles of Fairness – The principle of fairness refers to good human relationships and quality of life. Organic agriculture is based on providing a fair and just environment for people to live in. Organic farmers are expected to ensure work completed at their farm is fair to all involved, from the farmers and pickers to the distributors and consumers. It aims to provide quality food and other products, and animals are to be housed in conditions that are in accordance with their natural behavior and wellbeing. Organic agriculture merges human life with animals and plants – and ensures they are all used sensibly now, and into the future.
(d) Principles of Care – In organic agriculture, it’s not just today’s environment that matters, but the environment of the future is also considered. Many organic farmers aim to increase their production, and while this is great – it must be done with care to ensure that the future health of the planet is taken care of. Using organic farming technology is the best way to do this, and it’s recommended organic producers keep up to date with new methods. The considerations about the environment and environment of the future.
Objectives of Organic Farming in India
11. Here are the core objectives of organic farming:-
(a) The consistent and sufficient production of healthy and nutritious food.
(b) To grow crops in a manner that sustains the growth of crops without interfering with their innate behaviors and conditions.
(c) To minimize pollution, soil erosion, and soil degradation.
(d) To provide optimal long-term fertilization through natural pesticides for the biological activities of crops.
(e) To maintain genetic and biological diversity among plants and animals.
(f) To promote the use of recycling materials and rely on renewable sources in industries.
(g) To prepare organic products to protect crops from pests and weeds.
Types of Organic Farming in India
8. There are two types of Organic farming: –
(a) Pure organic farming – In pure organic farming, only natural ways of cultivation are carried out. It completely avoids inorganic chemicals that may harm the soil, crop, and people who consume it. In this process, fertilizer and pesticides obtained from natural sources are only used.
(b) Integrated organic farming –The integrated farming process consists of integrating pest management and nutrients management to achieve ecological requirements and fulfill the economic demands also.
Techniques of Organic farming in India
9 These are some techniques by which organic farming is practiced in India: –
(a) Soil Management-Soil management is the primary technique of organic farming in India. After cultivation, soil loses its nutrients, and its fertilizer goes down. The process in which soil is recharging with all the necessary nutrients called soil management. Organic farming uses natural ways to increase the fertility of the soil. It uses bacteria, available in animal waste. The bacteria help in making the soil more productive and fertile.
(b) Weed Management-Organic farming’s main aim is to remove the weeds. Weeds are the unwanted plant, growing with the crop. Weeds Sticking with nutrients of the soil affects the production of the crops. There are two techniques that give a solution to the problem of weeds.
(i) Moving or cutting – In this process, weeds are physically cut and removed from the soil.
(ii) Mulching – A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of the soil. Reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth, and enhancing the visual appeal of the area. A mulch is usually, but not exclusively, organic in nature. It may be permanent (e.g. plastic sheeting) or temporary (e.g. bark chips). It may be applied to bare soil or around existing plants. Mulches of manure or compost will be incorporated naturally into the soil by the activity of worms and other organisms. The process is used both in commercial crop production and in gardening, and when applied correctly, can improve soil productivity.
(c) Crop Diversity. According to this technique, different crops can together to meet the growing demand for crops. Farmers do not cultivate the same crop on the same land every year; instead, they grow different crops in rotation to maintain the soil’s health. Crop rotation is a very beneficial farming technique that replenishes the soil naturally as different plants contribute different nutrients to the soil. This technique helps control pests, weeds, insects, etc. by disrupting their habitat.
(d) Chemical Management in Farming – Agricultural farms contain useful and harmful organisms that affect farms. To save crops and soil, the growth of organisms needs to be controlled. In this process, natural or fewer chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides used to protect soil and crops. Proper maintenance is required throughout the area to control other organisms.
(e) Biological Pest Control – In this method, use living organisms to control pests with or without the use of chemicals.(f) Green manure – It means the dying plants that are uprooted and turned into the soil. These plants act as nutrients to the soil that helps to improve its fertility.
(g) Compost -It is one of the best natural fertilizers used in organic farming. It is a recycled organic matter highly enriched with nutrients that enhance the soil quality and improve crop production.
(h) Controlling pests Biologically Agricultural lands are a home for many organisms. Some of these organisms are helpful for crop production, whereas others are quite harmful to the crop as they disrupt crop production. To control the growth and population of the harmful organisms to maintain the soil fertility and protection of the crops organic farmers can use mild (having fewer chemicals) or natural herbicides and pesticides to control pests biologically. The farmers can also sanitize the farm properly to control harmful organisms in the field.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Organic Farming in India
10. Advantages of Organic Farming in India
(a) Organic farming in India is very economical, it uses no expensive fertilizers, pesticides, HYV seeds for the plantation of crops.
(b) With the use of cheaper and local inputs, a farmer can earn a good return on investment.
(c) There is a huge demand for organic products in India and worldwide and one can earn more income through export.
(d) Products are more nutritional, tasty, and good for health than chemical and fertilizer utilized products.
(e) Organic farming in India is very environment friendly, it does not use fertilizers and chemicals.
(f) Organic farming promotes genetic diversity.
(g) Since organic farming boosts yield, it makes optimum use of a scarce resource like land.
(h) Organic farming discourages the use of expensive fertilizers and pesticides, and as such, is more affordable to the farmers.
(i) The use of local and readily available inputs paired with a high yield offers a rewarding return on investment for the farmers.
(j) Organic farming is sustainable and eco-friendly as it does not involve the use of human-made artificial products.
(k) Since organic farming makes use of natural fertilizers, the crops and products obtained through organic farming are nutritionally superior.
(l) Given the high demand for organic products across the nation and the globe, the high export value increases the income generated from it.
11. Disadvantages of Organic Farming
(a) Organic farming in India has fewer choices, and off-season crops are limited.
(b) Organic agricultural products are low in the early years. Farmers find it difficult to accommodate mass production.
(c) The main disadvantage of organic farming is the lack of marketing of the products and Inadequate infrastructure.
(d) Lack of awareness and infrastructural support can be detrimental to the growth potential of organic farming.
(e) Due to the lack of chemicals, the overall shelf-life of organic products is shorter.
(f) During the off-season, farmers may not have a lot of options in organic farming.
12. Organic farming yields more nutritious and safe food. The popularity of organic food is growing dramatically as consumer seeks the organic foods that are thought to be healthier and safer. Thus, organic food perhaps ensures food safety from farm to plate. The organic farming process is more eco-friendly than conventional farming. Organic farming keeps soil healthy and maintains environmental integrity thereby, promoting the health of consumers. Moreover, the organic produce market is now the fastest-growing market all over the world including India.
Organic agriculture promotes the health of consumers of a nation, the ecological health of a nation, and the economic growth of a nation by income generation holistically. India, at present, is the world’s largest organic producer and with this vision, we can conclude that encouraging organic farming in India can build a nutritionally, ecologically, and economically healthy nation in near future.
The key factors affecting consumer demand for organic food are health consciousness and the willingness of the public to pay for the high-priced produce. In general, consumers of organic products are an affluent, educated, and health-conscious group spurred by strong consumer demand, generous price premium, and concerns about the environment. Because of these hidden benefits, conventional growers also are turning to organic farming.