Here is an essay on ‘Organic Farming’ for class 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Organic Farming’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Organic Farming
- Essay on the Introduction to Organic Farming
- Essay on the Meaning of Organic Farming
- Essay on the Sources of Organic Farming
- Essay on the Types of Organic Farming
- Essay on the Steps Involved in Organic Farming
- Essay on Organic Farming and Water Use Efficiency
- Essay on Organic Manures and Soil Fertility
- Essay on Organic Farming and Production Risks
- Essay on Organic Farming and Land Management
- Essay on the Need for Organic Package
- Essay on the Constraints of Organic Farming
- Essay on the Relevance of Organic Farming to India
- Essay on the Position of India in Global Map of Organic Farming
- Essay on the Benefits of Organic Farming
- Essay on Pest Control in Organic Farming
- Essay on the Future Prospects of Organic Farming
Essay # 1. Introduction to Organic Farming:
Organic farming entered the field of agriculture when the overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to enhance the yield of hybrid varieties of crop plants resulted in environmental pollution. Adverse effect on the health of general public due to fertilizer and pesticides residue over the permissible limit in food grains, vegetable and fruits became major issues.
Organic farming is practiced in approximately 110 countries of the world and the area under this approach is growing rapidly. Currently, according to the survey of Foundation Ecology & Agriculture more than 26 million hectares are managed organically by at least 558,449 farms worldwide.
In India, organic farming is practiced in 25 lakh hectares and the area can be extended in states like Orissa, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where the per capita consumption of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides is very low.
The chemical fertilizers are devoid of essential micro nutrients which are to be supplied to the crop through spraying or augmenting. The overuse of chemical fertilizers contaminates groundwater and results in soil acidification. The cost of cultivation also increases.
Another more important effect was to the reduction of the population of soil organisms like beneficial insects, bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The pesticides killed the beneficial insects which were predators and parasites on the crop pests and were used to pollinate the crop. The soil structure and texture was drastically affected which resulted in the soil becoming infertile even after the addition of the chemical fertilizers.
The decrease in the yield of the food grain, fruit and vegetable crops was alarming as it was affecting the food supply chain negatively.
The scientists and the elite farming community started to find the solution to the problem and they came to the conclusion that the overuse of the chemical fertilizers and pesticides should be minimized and or completely stopped. The answer came from the forest vegetation. The growth and development of the forest vegetation were excellent though no pesticides or chemical fertilizers were used in the forest. When the soil of forest bed was analyzed it was found that it contains all the necessary nutrients in balanced form essential for the growth and development of plants.
The soil also had all the beneficial bacteria, mycorrhizae and insects supporting the plant growth. It was obvious that a proper ecological balance resulted in the proper development of the forest vegetation. It was also obvious that fallen leaves and branches, carcasses of the forest animals were decomposed and the nutrients were released in the soil. The organic matter decomposed also added humus to the soil. The plant roots usually absorb essential nutrients in a simple form and due to decomposition process nutrients were in proper quantity around the root zone.
There was also a symbiotic association between plants and microbes which helped to achieve the ecological balance. Thus; the agricultural scientists and farmers understood that such an ecological balance on the farm could be created by adopting organic farming with least use of fertilizers and pesticides. Thus the era of zero cultivation and organic farming started. This is climax ecosystem where a high degree of stability, productivity, and diversity is achieved in biological forms. In natural farming, such a climax ecosystem on the field could be achieved through intercropping, companion planting and integrated pest management.
The addition of organic matter to the soil is the main theme in organic farming. The organic matter acts as a raw material for the naturally occurring beneficial bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and insects. The bacteria, fungi, and earthworms act on the organic material and start the decay cycle. This results in breaking of complex plant material into a simple form which is easily absorbed by plant roots.
Essay # 2. Meaning of Organic Farming:
Organic farming is the process of producing food naturally. This method avoids the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers and genetically modified organisms to influence the growth of crops. The main idea behind organic farming is zero impact on the environment. The aim of the organic farmer is to protect the earth’s resources (land, water and plants) and produce safe, healthy food.
Organic farming uses the earth’s natural resources for sustainability. It emphasizes appropriate land management and aims to ecologically achieve the balance between animal life, the natural environment and food crops. Organic farmers do not use pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified foods, growth promoters or hormones. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. The produce that is produced through organic farming is thus at its most natural form.
Organic farming has re-emerged and is a re-implementation of the primitive process followed by our ancestors before they discovered chemicals that could save time and improve crop quality, but had the side effect of ruining our air, water, and soil.
In organic farming, farmers and gardeners grow their crops without the aid of synthetic fertilizers and harmful chemical pesticides.
The basic rules of organic farming and organic food production are:
“Organics is not just chemical free by testing. It is about the way your food is grown and handled”.
The whole system is linked as:
Soil → Plants → Animals → Food → People → Environment
Like any other farming system, organic farming is complex and not easily defined. Most farmers implement some practices that would be considered organic, such as crop rotations.
The key characteristics of organic farming are:
1. Long-term soil fertility through the management of organic matter.
2. Slow-release nutrient sources such as composts and crop residues.
3. Biological nutrient sources such as nitrogen fixing crops.
4. Cultural practices such as natural predators, crop rotations, and manual weed control.
5. Avoiding highly intensive livestock production by ensuring animals has sufficient space to meet their needs.
6. Being mindful of off-farm impacts such as biodiversity and sedimentation.
7. No use of chemical fertilizers or synthetic drugs.
8. No use of genetically modified organisms.
9. Prevention from soil loss and erosion.
10. Promotion of biodiversity – support a range of crops, not a single species.
Employing organic farming methods will lead to higher profits for farmers not only because of price premiums, but also because of lower production costs with on farm inputs management. Organic farming can decrease the costs of production as chemical inputs are substituted by locally available and cheaper organic inputs and more intensive labor which the poor often have in abundance. Adoption of Organic farming systems also lowers the need for credit, which is often expensive and difficult to obtain for small farmers.
Essay # 3. Sources of Organic Farming:
Sources of organic farming are following:
1. Farmyard manure, seaweeds, plant waste, green manure animal waste and cow dung slurry from a biogas plant. Humic acid is another source. Organic fertilizers improve soil structure and texture, water holding capacity of the soil, prevent soil erosion and weed growth. The emission of methane (a greenhouse gas) is minimum in organic farming.
2. Cattle shed waste, dung, urine, and slurry from biogas plant.
3. Human habitation waste, night soil, urine, town refuse, sewage, slug.
4. Poultry jitter, droppings of sheep and goat.
5. Slaughter house waste, bone meal, meat meal, blood meal, horn and hoof meal, fish waste.
6. By products of agro industries, oil cakes, bagasse, press mud, fruit and vegetable processing waste.
7. Crop waste, sugarcane trash, stubble and other material.
8. Water hyacinth, weeds, tank silt.
9. Green manure crop, green leaf manure.
Agriculture is a business and the organic farming shall reduce the cost of cultivation as the farmers need not purchase chemical fertilizers and pesticides, minimize the use of irrigation as water holding a capacity of the soil is increased.
The state of Andhra Pradesh has organic farming of 40 lakh hectares under the non-pesticide management.
Green manures, FYM, and compost are regarded as bulky organic manures and are used in large quantity.
These bulky organic manures have the following advantages:
1. They supply major and minor plant nutrients.
2. They improve physical properties of the soil, like texture, structure, water holding capacity.
3. Available nutrients are increased.
4. Carbon dioxide released during decomposition is used by the plants.
5. The growth of Parasites like nematodes and fungi is checked as their parasites develop in the soil.
6. Well-decomposed FYM contain 0.5 percent N, 0.2 percent P2O5 and 0.5 percent K2O.
7. Urine contains 1 percent N (in the form of urea) and 1.35 percent potassium.
8. Vegetable crops like potato, sweet potato, onion, carrot, and radish give a good response to organic manures. Sugarcane, rice, coconut, oranges etc. to give best results when organic manures are used.
9. The entire amount of nutrients is not available to the first crop. About 30 percent of N, 60 to 70 percent of phosphorus and 70 percent of potash are available to the first crop.
10. Sheep and goat manure contains 3 per cent N, 1 per cent P2O5 and 2 per cent K2O. The sheep and goat droppings can be decomposed or animals are allowed in the field overnight and the urine and fecal matter can be plowed in the soil where it rots.
11. Poultry droppings contain 3.05 per cent N, 2.63 percent P2O5 and 1.4 percent K2O.
Oil cakes, blood meal, and fish manure are concentrated organic manures. These are best organic nitrogen fertilizers. The bacteria convert it into ammoniacal nitrogen and nitrate nitrogen which is readily absorbed by plants roots. They are slow acting but supply nutrients to crop plants for a longer time. Nutrients are available after 7 to 10 days after application of oil cakes.
The average nutrient contents of oil cakes are given below:
Non-Edible Oil Cakes:
1. Caster cake – 4.3 percent N, 1.8 percent P2O5, 1.3 percent K2O
Edible Oil Cakes:
1. Cotton seed cake (undecorticated) – 3.9 percent N, 1.8 percent P2O5 and 1.3 percent K2O
2. Karanj cake – 3.9 percent N, 0.9 percent P2O5, 1.2 percent K2O
3. Safflower cake – 4.9 percent N, 1.4 percent P2O5 and 1.2 percent K2O
About 35 per cent greenhouse gases emitted from the agriculture. We can reduce greenhouse gases through organic farming. Increasing organic content of the soil can control carbon and reduce emission. Thus organic farming can reverse the agriculture ecosystem from a carbon source to the carbon sink.
Essay # 4. Types of Organic Farming:
i. Pure Organic Farming:
It includes use of organic manures, and bio-pesticides with complete avoidance of inorganic chemicals and pesticides.
ii. Integrated Farming:
It involves integrated nutrient management and Integrated Pest Management.
iii. Integrated Farming Systems:
In this type, local resources are effectively recycled by involving other components such as poultry, fish pond, mushroom, goat rearing etc., apart from crop components. It is a low input organic farming.
Essay # 5. Steps Involved in Organic Farming:
Organic farming involves following steps:
1. Crop waste is recycled to build good soil structure and fertility. Crop rotation is followed. The soil surface is mulched to avoid evaporation of water. Green manuring is practiced. Mulching is practiced in organic farming as it decreases water loss by evaporation. Also, it reduces weed growth as light does not reach the weed seedlings, increasing the number of microorganisms in the soil. This improves soil structure, adds organic nutrients to the soil and prevents soil erosion. Alternative mulching includes black plastic sheeting or cardboards. These materials do not add nutrients to the soil. Mulches are applied to wet warm soil.
2. Resistant crops are used to control pest diseases and weeds. Insect predator population is built up by avoiding insecticide spray. Natural pesticides are preferred where an extract of plants having insecticidal properties is used. Organic farming takes best of the traditional method of farming. A healthy balance between nature and farms is created. The farmer uses resources available on the farm. As no inputs are brought from the market the farmer needs no money to spend on outside material. The food produced organically is more nutritious, tastier and without pesticide residue in the produce. The produce is sold at good price.
3. The crop is selected on the basis of climate, rainfall, soil type, altitude, temperature, nutritional requirements, and the farmer selects local varieties which give a good response to the climatic condition.
4. Growing the same crop on the same field year after year reduces soil fertility, besides, pests and disease-causing organisms are built up. Crop rotation should be followed to avoid this. The field should be kept fallow for some period after the crop harvest. Crop rotation helps in the increase of natural predators by providing a diverse source of food. Cereals, legume, root crops, maize, bean are best for crop rotation.
An organic farmer should grow a mixture of crops on the same field, (mixed cropping, strip cropping, intercropping).Different varieties of the same crop should be planted to avoid disease and pest incidence. Several local varieties should be used. Seeds can be saved for next planting. It is economical as there is no need to buy seeds from the local seed seller. Exchange of seeds with other farmers would create crop variability. It will also help to preserve local germ-plasm.
5. The natural balance between predators and pests is maintained in organic farming. Ladybird beetles, spiders, praying mantis, parasitic wasps are main predators of insect pests.
6. Animal husbandry is a must for natural farming as it provides dung and urine for fustigating the soil. Animals should not be confined to one space and their movement should be unrestricted. Local breeds should be preferred.
The International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement (IFOAM) has listed a set of international organic standards. We, in India, do not have such an organic standard system. It is essential as marketing organic produce with suitable symbol creates confidence in buyers.
The organic farming encourages natural ways to enhance soil structure and the quality of vegetables, grains, and fruits. Genetically engineered plants and animals are discouraged in this system. It is a holistic system where soil organisms, plants and animals, livestock and people are a part to optimize production and ecosystem. This sustainable and harmonious environment is created.
In India, there is a need to certify organic farms, where 12.4 lakh ton organic products are produced. The main products are sugarcane, basmati rice, condiments, tea, coffee, dry fruits, and vegetables. In 2013-14, 135 organic products were exported to America, Europe, Australia, Canada, South Africa and the Middle East.
The organic certification program consists of a selection of crop, farm, inspection, and certification. The products are labeled an as “Certified Organic” and then sold. The certification is usually issued by an accredited certifying agency. The certification program varies according to the ecological and social condition of the area. Each state in India follows specific norms.
The accreditation body also provides a logo. There are several certifying and inspection agencies in India. In Maharashtra National Organic Federation Association (NOCA) Pune, Ecocert International, Aurangabad helps the farmers for growing and certifying organic products. APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) helps the farming community to export the organic produce.
Mizoram is the first Indian state to make legislation for organic farming. National Programme for Organic Products (NPOP) prescribed organic standards.
The demand for organic food is soaring worldwide. More than 100 countries follow organic farming. The global Organic area is 26 million hectares with 61 standards and 364 certifying agencies. The world organic market is 26 million US dollars. Canada is leading in organic products export. The organic area in India is 2.5 million hectares including certified forest area. The National Centre of Organic Farming under Ministry of Agriculture promotes organic farming and provides assistance to farmers.
Essay # 6. Organic Farming and Water Use Efficiency:
Sustainable agricultural development requires technologies and practices that make more efficient and productive use of resources and an enabling environment that encourages the adoption of these technologies.
A successful solution to bio-organic agriculture means ensuring optimal plant nutrition while restoring the soil and its microorganisms to their natural state. With synthetic fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides are prohibited; compost and other organic and natural nutrient sources play a key role.
Organic farming improves water use efficiency. Research shows that organic systems use water more efficiently due to better soil structure and higher levels of humus and other organic matter compounds. Soil water held in the crop root zone remains consistently higher by a statistically significant margin in the organic plots than the conventional plots, due to the higher organic matter content in the organic treated soils.
The open structure allows rainwater to quickly penetrate the soil, resulting in less water loss from run-off and higher levels of water capture. The organic systems capture about twice as much water as the conventional treatment. Organic farming increases soil fertility, soil moisture retention, aeration, nitrogen fixation, mineral availability, disease suppression, soil tilth and general structure.
Nevertheless, using natural nitrogen sources for fertilization in the irrigation system requires special attention, such as proper filtration and maintenance as well as periodical flushing of the drip system to avoid potential clogging.
Globally, in both irrigated and rain fed agriculture only about 10-30% of the available water (as rainfall, surface or groundwater) is used by plants as transpiration. In arid and semi-arid areas, where water is scarce and population growth is high, this figure is nearer 5% in rain fed crops. There is, therefore, great potential for improving water use efficiency in agriculture, particularly, in those areas where the need is greatest.
The environmental and social benefits of more efficient on-farm water and energy use are a necessity to addressing the increasing demands for water and reduction in energy inputs.
Measurement of On-Farm Water Use Efficiency:
Previously there has been no practical way of measuring on-farm water use efficiency of individual fields in a furrow irrigated system. Doppler meters are a practical method of measuring the water use efficiency of individual fields.
Doppler meters measure the velocity of water flowing past its sensors using sound waves. The sound waves are emitted by the meter and bounce back off suspended particles in the water. The meter times how long it takes for the sound waves to return and uses this to calculate how fast the particles are moving. The speed of the particles relates to how fast the water is flowing. There are two main types of ultrasonic flow meters, Doppler flow meters and time transit ultrasonic flow meters.
A time transit ultrasonic flow meter requires a clean liquid without particulates or bubbles and can be used for both liquid and gas applications. It has better accuracy than that of a Doppler flow meter and will typically offer accuracies of ±2% full scale. A Doppler flow meter requires particulates or bubbles in the media. The minimum diameter size of the particulate is typically 30 microns and requires a minimum concentration level of 25 ppm.
A pressure transducer measures the depth of water above the meter. This measurement is used to determine the area of water flowing past the meter. Velocity times Area gives the volume of water at a point in time. If the flow data is accumulated over the duration of irrigation the total volume flowing past the meter can be calculated.
There are two major advantages to using Doppler meters in measuring field efficiencies:
1. There are no moving parts that could be stopped by rusting or obstruction.
2. They are very mobile and can be installed in most irrigation channels and drains.
3. Another advantage is that no permanent or expensive structures are required for installation.
The major disadvantage is that the accuracy of the readings is easily influenced by how and where the meter is installed. There is also a high degree of skill required to collate and interpret the data.
Essay # 7. Organic Manures and Soil Fertility:
Improper and continuous use of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides etc., in the soil over the years resulted in certain deleterious effects on soil health leading to decline in productivity of crops. Application of organics will improve the fertility status of soil thus favouring the yield of crops.
Effect of Continuous Manurial Practices on Grain Yield and Soil Chemical Properties in Rice Based Cropping System:
Experiments were conducted in rice based cropping system viz., rice- rice- rice fallow black gram at Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, Aduthurai. The rice crop was taken up in Kuruvai (June – September) as well as in Thaladi (October – February) seasons followed by a summer rice fallow black gram from Kuruvai 1992 to Thaladi 1996 (10 rice crops).
The data on the effect of organic manures and NPK levels on the yield of rice in different seasons, soil physico- chemical properties and soil available NPK after 10th rice crop are presented hereunder. The results revealed that application of N: P: K at 125:50:50 kg/ha + Sesbania rostrata – 6.25 t/ha + Gypsum – 500 kg/ha recorded significantly higher grain yield compared to other treatments during Kuruvai season.
On perusal of yield data in Thaladi season, application of N: P: K at 150:60:60 NPK (kg/ha) + FYM 12.5 t/ha + Gypsum – 500 kg/ha recorded significantly higher grain yield compared to other treatments. This was due to beneficial effect of organic manures and chemical fertilizers which helped in increasing the organic carbon content and available soil NPK.
Essay # 8. Organic Farming and Production Risks:
Organic farming can lessen the risk of income losses associated with seasonal variations or crop failures. On the one hand, diversification, which is common in organic systems, has been shown to increase farm production by 20 to 60 per cent as compared to a traditional low-input system. This diversity, in conjunction with greater on and off-farm biodiversity, allows farmers to derive extra income from the sale of additional products or wild crops and non-timber forest products.
Some organic systems also favor the use of traditional varieties which are typically more resistant to local pests and diseases and since organic farming allows farmers to save their own seeds, farmers can gradually increase crop resistance to pests and diseases by breeding these seeds for horizontal resistance.
The certified organic produce has been organically grown, harvested, prepared and transported in systems that guarantee the produce is not contaminated by synthetic chemicals, fumigation or irradiation. Organic produce exported from India should meet the Indian Organic Standards and any other requirements under prescribed organic standards of the importing nation. Organic produces being sold in Indian Market should also be certified by accredited Certification Agency and must be labeled as “Certified Organic” with certification agency’s registration number and ‘India Organic Logo’.
Therefore, organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on ecosystem management and attempts to reduce or eliminate external agricultural inputs, especially synthetic ones. It is a holistic production management system that promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity.
Essay # 9. Organic Farming and Land Management:
The indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers for decades the organic matter content of soils has come down to less than 1 per cent. In addition, the use of pesticides led to pest resurgence and difficult-to- control weeds species. Therefore, the use of manures, green manures, urban waste, rural wastes, etc., which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compound fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and live-stock feed additives.
These practices can bring sustainability to agriculture with eco-friendliness. To the maximum extent feasible, organic farming systems rely upon crop rotation, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off-farm organic wastes, mechanical cultivation, mineral bearing rocks and aspects of biological pest control to maintain, soil productivity and to supply plant nutrients and to control insects, weeds and other pests.
There is a need to develop a sustainable agriculture system for guaranteed adequate food production in the foreseeable future it will make agriculture system self-sufficient which would rely as much as possible upon resources from within its own resources. One has to develop an alternative strategy over chemical farming which would be a guideline for working of biological processes in natural eco-systems.
For soil health various sources of organic plant nutrients are used in India, they are: farm yard manure, rural and urban compost, sewage sludge, press-mud, green manures, crop residues, forest litter, industrial waste and by-products. The number of biofertilizers such as blue green algae (BGA) and Azolla are used extensively to meet the nitrogen demand of the crop. Small quantities of powdered neem cake are also used. These organic nitrogen supplements unlike the fertilizer nitrogen do not suffer any loss in the fields.
The phosphorous-solubilizing and mobilizing organisms such as phosphobacterium and vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM) are quite helpful in meeting the phosphorus demand of the crop.
Without soil organisms, processes like decomposition, mineralization, and degradation of potential pollutants would not occur. Therefore, the growth and survival of soil organisms should be encouraged. Soil organisms play a direct role in plant health, too. Some are crop pests and others are predators on the pest organisms.
A soil with a wide diversity of organisms is more likely to be a healthy soil with fewer plant diseases. Potassium for the crops can be supplied by using potassium rich organic amendments such as burnt rice, rice straw composted using Tricoderna harzianum and composted coconut coir pith.
Use of organic sources the farmers can increase/improve soil fertility. A study carried out in Japan to know the effect of organic farming on soil properties, it was found that with time, there was an increase in organic matter content, soil reaction, exchangeable CaO and MgO, available phosphorus and trace elements of manganese and boron.
However, the potassium content was erratic. The soils using poultry manure compost for more than 10 years showed much accumulation of calcium and available phosphorus and a serious imbalance of bases.
Essay # 10. Need for Organic Package:
i. There is a need for hydraulic planning and solutions to suit individual farm requirements followed by the proper assessment of environmental conditions, topography, varying soil types, and nature and availability of water sources.
ii. A flexible systems should be designed to produce maximum yields at a minimum costs.
iii. To manage and develop an accurate irrigation system to control weeds and can carry different water qualities.
iv. Comprehensive support for irrigation and nutrient management of all crop types in open field and greenhouse cultivation, compost application, equipment maintenance and disinfestations should be maintain.
v. Application of an irrigation system that adapts itself to the crop type. These can be either above-surface or subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems.
vi. There should be an accurate spread of compost and installation of dripper lines above the compost to provide the crop with all its required nutrients through the drip irrigation system.
vii. For fruit plantations, feeding channels should be designed to provide trees with a three-year compost supply. This technology uses open ditches with above-surface drippers and, when necessary, micro-sprinklers.
viii. Development of water efficient system that accurately places the dripper near the target to control weeds and prevent leaves from getting wet for open field cultivation.
ix. There is a need for field experience in organic crops from supporting farmers.
Essay # 11. Constraints of Organic Farming:
India’s farmers are still mostly practicing organic methods, passed down for millennia. Organic fertilizer and natural pest control are the only tools available to most of these farmers, who have always lacked the financial resources to explore chemical solutions. But these farmers, whose produce is as organic as they come, cannot afford to pay the fees required to gain official certification.
As the international community adopts standards for organic agriculture, the challenges faced by farmers in the USA versus farmers in India in order to adapt are very different indeed. The danger is that the well-intentioned global move towards organic standards will make small organic farmers in countries like India, who have been never done anything but organic farming, no longer able to sell their crops.
According to Bhattacharyya (2004) several constraints have been identified in organic farming.
1. Excessive cost of existing inspection and certification system which is not affordable by farmers.
2. Heavy metal content of urban compost.
3. Lack of quality assurance of organic inputs and non-availability of standards.
4. Limited availability of sufficient quality of locally available inputs like farmyard manure, compost, vermin-compost etc.
5. Limited domestic market and lack of commodity-wise market information on domestic global demand and supply.
6. Non-availability of organic package of practice for all crops based on locally available inputs.
7. Non-awareness of farmers and NGOs on the impact of organic farming.
8. Regulatory mechanism in this regard.
9. Risk of low production in initial years of organic farming.
Slow release of nutrients from organic sources which is not matching the nutritional demand of high-yielding varieties.
i. The concept of organic farming has less scope in small farm holdings.
ii. Lack of documentation on organic farming.
iii. Application of organic manures involves high transportation cost as they are applied in larger quantities.
iv. Lack of awareness among most of the farmers in respect of scientific compost making.
v. Urban wastes on improper decomposition and application are reported to contain heavy metals, which will result in poor quality of the produce.
vii. Decline in productivity of crops during the initial years of adoption as these organic manures release nutrients slowly.
viii. Organic farming is more suited for fruits, vegetables and flowers.
ix. Specific production environments and skill are required to produce and market organic products.
x. Certification procedure for organic farming is very complicated and expensive which is unaffordable for small farmers (Rs.22000 to Rs.29200 per certification).
xi. Lack of market information.
xii. Lack of proper infrastructure.
xiii. Limited domestic market.
xiv. Physically organic and other products are same which affects marketing of organic produce to a greater extent.
xiii. Promotional activities for increasing the area under organic farming by our Government in terms of policy framework and institutional dynamics are only marginal.
Essay # 12. Relevance of Organic Farming to India:
Indian economy is based on agriculture and in tradition the entire agriculture was practiced using organic techniques. It was practiced in since thousands of years. It was the backbone of the Indian economy. Organic farming is not of recent origin in India. In ancient literature such as Rig-Veda, the use of animal dung as manure was emphasized.
Atharvaveda indicated the importance of green manures, which was practised before 1000 BC. Kautilya’s Arthashastra recorded manures like oil cakes, excreta of animals etc. Ayurvedic medicinal plants should be cultivated in organic manner. The great Indian civilization thrived on organic farming and India was one of the most prosperous countries in the world, till the British ruled it.
In India, during 1950s and 1960s, with the population explosion followed by several natural calamities, the country faced severe food scarcity and Government of India was forced to import food grains from foreign countries. India aimed to drastically increase food production.
Under the leadership of Dr. M. S. Swaminathan the Green Revolution programme was launched by the government in the 1960s and several hectares of land was brought under cultivation. Hybrid seeds were introduced. Natural and organic fertilizers were replaced by chemical fertilizers and locally made pesticides were replaced by chemical pesticides. This how, Indian farmer shifted from organic to chemical farming.
The Green Revolution, showed its impact within a few years. The country, which greatly relied on imports for its food supply, reduced its imports every passing year. In 1990s, India had surplus food grains and once again became an exporter of food grains.
The farmers are extensive dependent on chemical farming and now facing its darker side because of the following facts:
1. The land has lost its fertility and is demanding larger quantities of fertilizers for crops.
2. Pests have become immune and require strong and costly pesticides.
3. Increased cost of farming.
4. Farmers are falling into the trap of money lenders, who are exploiting them no end, and forcing many to commit suicide.
Both consumers and farmers are now gradually shifting back to organic farming in India. It is believed by many that organic farming is healthier. Though the health benefits of organic food are yet to be proved, consumers are willing to pay higher premium for the same. Many farmers in India are shifting to organic farming due to the domestic and international demand for organic food.
Further stringent standards for non-organic food in European and US markets have led to rejection of many Indian food consignments in the past. Organic farming, therefore, provides a better alternative to chemical farming. Organic systems produce less greenhouse gases (GHGs), sequester CO2 into the soil and increases water use efficiency of the soil.
India is endowed with various types of naturally available organic forms of nutrients in different parts of the country, but quality of these inputs needs to be improved and monitored with appropriate regulatory mechanism. This will take time. It is necessary to avoid hit-and-run method. Unless this improvement is made, a complete switchover to organic farming may pose severe threat to its promotion.
Therefore, it is necessary to regulate the speed of organic movement very carefully. Unless we resolve these issues properly, we have to depend on Integrated Farming System which includes- Integrated Nutrient Management (INM); Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) and Integrated Weed Management (IWM). Integrated Farming Systems are seen by some as a compromise between organic farming and intensive conventional agriculture.
Approximately 42000 hectares area of land was under certified organic cultivation in India during the 2003-04 and it was increased to 25 Lakh hectares during 2004-05. Out of which 76,326 hectare was cultivable and rest of the area was of forests. Certified area under organic cultivation during 2005-06 was 1.73 lakh hectares, during 2006-07 5.38 Lakh hectares and by the end of 2007-08 it reach to a height of 8.65 lakh hectares. No doubt, the organic movement has again started in India. However, keeping in the view National Food Security it is difficult to convert the country into full organic immediately.
Essay # 13. Position of India in Global Map of Organic Farming:
The position of India is 75th in the global map of organic farming, if 41,000 ha is considered as per Soel-Survey February, 2004. One should not confuse between Low-External Inputs Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) and Organic Agriculture. LEISA is based on the increased use of local resources. Reduced usage, but not elimination, of certain chemical inputs is a key factor in distinguishing LEISA from organic farming.
However, current area of organic farming area in India is definitely more than 41,000 ha. As per present estimation of APEDA, the export oriented certified organic cultivation area in the country has grown to 2.5 million hectare. If we cut down 50% from optimistic estimation of 7 million ha because of LEISA, the organic area in India is perhaps 3.5 million ha. But it needs to be confirmed.
There is a load of GAIT Agreement on Indian farming. The specter of foreign agricultural products being dumped at low rates in India is alarming. But only the hope is that Indian farmers are being gradually educated. The people movement on organic agriculture has already started on wide scale.
Although the Bank has supported some pioneering work in the South Asia region related to medicinal plants and, more generally, natural resource management, much remains to be done. In the future, it will be important to mainstream medicinal plants and other non- timber forest products into natural resource management and development programs.
To boost the quality of plant resource management and increase supplies of these resources:
1. Agricultural support agencies should strengthen extension efforts to farmers.
2. Research institutions need to improve basic knowledge about cultivation practices and dissemination of plant species.
3. Conservation agencies and NGOs should promote conservation.
4. Community organizations need to adopt sustainable collection and management practices on public lands.
5. Profitable private enterprises for processing, transporting, and marketing must be developed.
6. Government institutions need to be strengthened
7. Future initiatives should also link the management and conservation of medicinal plants.
8. The Bank’s new lending instruments-learning and innovation loans and adaptable program loans-are well suited to these efforts.
9. Receipt of grants from The Global Environment Facility (GEF).
i. Ensures optimum utilization of natural resources.
ii. Improves the soil health through its influence on soil physical, chemical and biological properties.
iii. Ensures the availability of all essential elements in soluble form.
iv. Better soil and moisture conservation.
v. Reduces risk of crop failure.
vi. Helps in achieving sustainable agricultural production.
vii. Reduces the cost of production.
viii. Helps in reducing the level of pollution.
ix. Reduces human and animal health hazards.
x. Helps to improve the quality of produce.
xi. Increased employment opportunities.
xii. Increased farm income.
Organic farming is now catching fast in global agriculture where 40 million hectare is certified organic area globally. The organic agriculture is a production system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic compounded fertilizer and pesticides.
For pest control purpose, organic agriculture relies on biological pest control management which includes following:
1. Use of biotic agents like parasitoids and predators
2. Use of plant based materials e.g., neem which are known as botanical pesticides.
3. Use of antagonizing microbial organisms containing bacteria, fungi, viruses, nematodes, protozoa etc. which are usually known as microbial pesticides.
The Government of India has launched National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) w.e.f. October, 2004 and this project encourages farmer to use biocontrol agents, microbial pesticides and botanical pesticides for pest control.
Essay # 16. Future Prospects of Organic Farming:
There is a growing concern about adverse effects of indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Looking to ill effects of chemicals, stress is being given to promote organic farming. But the issue needs to be addressed carefully. A question has been raised- Are Indian farmers adding excessive fertilizers and pesticides as compared to other countries? The data indicate that per ha consumption of fertilizers and pesticides in India is 91.5 kg and 0.38 kg respectively which are far below than other countries.
The population of India with a growth rate of about 2.3% has already crossed 100 cores. This unprecedented crisis in population will lead to increased demand of food. The projected population for 2020 is 154 cores or 1,540 million for which there will be a requirement of 385 million tonnes of food grains.
It is estimated that plant nutrients (NPK) addition during 2020 will be removal of 37.46 million tonnes nutrients by crops for which nutrient additions generally fall short of requirement, i.e. 7.86 million tonnes. The projected (2025) availability of plant nutrients trappable from organic sources is 7.75 million tones.
There are several reasons for people to adopt organic farming practices, however, there are some reasons that people farm organically like:
Demand is growing for organic produce. Most organic farms need fewer inputs from outside the farm, which saves money for the farmer. Prices are often higher for organic produce, so profits may be satisfactory even if yields are lower.
Some people believe that organic farming is the ‘right’ way to farm or that it is better for the long-term future of the earth.
Not using any chemicals may lead to a more enjoyable lifestyle and better health. There may be more work to do, for example weeding with a scarifier or hoe instead of spraying.
Therefore, pesticides, insecticides, and chemical fertilizer should not be used in farm soil to ensure chemical free raw drug and subsequently end the product. For that, organic manure, biopesticides, and bioherbicides are needed in large quantities. Biopesticides and bioherbicides are not so popular in India. Though, lot of research is going on in this area. At present farmers are using extracts of Neem, Datura, Baibidang, Vach, Chitrak, Gugulu, Cow Urine etc. for pesticidal problems.
India’s National Agricultural Policy (NAP) 2000 envisaged that agriculture sector should be sustainable technologically, environmentally and economically, … conserve our soil, water and biodiversity … maximum benefits from export of agricultural products. Organic farming is appropriate technology for this purpose. In fact, promotion of organic farming and utilization of organic wastes has been one of the thrust areas of the Tenth Five Year Plan.
For example, Uttaranchal has been declared as the State of Organic Farming. The State Agricultural Department has taken a large-scale programme to implement this concept in all parts of the state. The programme on organic farming has been started from the year 2001-02 under centrally sponsored Macro mode management scheme as a bio- village programme.
Where, 224 villages were selected from all over the state. Uttar Pradesh has taken lead and somersault to opt organic farming though IPM and INM. Government of Madhya Pradesh has taken decision to promote organic farming on a large-scale. For this purpose, 5 villages in each block have been selected to develop as organic agriculture village. In Chhattisgarh, use of chemical fertilizers has been traditionally low due to various reasons including poor economic condition of small and marginal farmers.
At present, there are almost 40 biofertilizer production units in the state with 8-10 thousand tonnes of annual production capacity. As consumption is concerned, 4-5 thousand tonnes of biofertilizers are consumed annually. Kerala has taken initiatives for promoting organic farming and biofertilizer. Kerala Agricultural University has done good R and D.
In North-eastern region the consumption (g/ha) of biofertilizers in Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are 162.0, 62.6, 43.5, 28.0 and 5.6 respectively. Sikkim, Pondicherry and many Northeastern States have declared their state as 100% organic farming state. It is necessary that all the States of India should be declared as Organic States.
The increase demand of medicinal plants leads for their commercial cultivation, adoption of various agro-techniques such as applications of fertilizers, irrigation and also the use of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides, although, increase the total production of these plants.
However, the important metabolites and their byproducts are the key source of importance of medicinal plants. The indiscriminate use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides alter the basic metabolic pathways of these products of economic importance and ultimately changes the basic formulation and their market value.
In light of the above facts, uses of organic manures, which are known to be ecofriendly, least alter the metabolic pathways of the medicinal plants. Assume importance and a combination of these factors that is growing of medicinal plants under organic farming may lead to the quality, maintenance, or even improvement in these plants quality.