Is Organic Farming A Revolution in The Agriculture Industry?

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An Introduction to Organic Farming

Organic Farming, shortly defined as an alternative agricultural system that came up during the 20th century in response to the rapidly growing false farming practices. In simple words, we can define organic farming as a method that involves nurturing crops by avoiding the use of synthetic materials like pesticides, herbicides, and other additives.

In a growing population of 7.5 billion, the crop demand is always on a rise. Hence, a better way to grow and nurture the crops to increase the yields was required. Thus, Researchers came up with Organic techniques that use non-toxic chemicals and give good yields.

The usage of Neem leaves in the grain storage facility as Biopesticides is one such technique. Biopesticides can be defined as the extracts of animals that repel or kill weeds and various other pests that stick to the crops and destroys them.

History of Organic Farming -

Sir Albert Howard, F.H King, Rudolf Steiner, and many others together developed the concepts of organic agriculture in early 1900. Sir Howard gained much inspiration from traditional and sustainable farming practices of India as he worked in India as an agricultural researcher and later he advocated to bring the same culture to the West. 

However, in the 1960s the demand for organic food was stimulated by Rachel Carson, a publication of Silent Spring that reported the extent of environmental damage caused by insecticides. To ensure a healthy crop, organic farming includes various processes such as crop rotation, intercropping, and mixed cropping too.

Processes involved in organic farming are - 

1. Crop rotation:

Let us suppose we grow the same crop in the same field for many years together, what would be the results?

It will result in the depletion of the same type of nutrients and also a build-up of diseases and crop-destroying pests will be observed. Crop Rotation may be defined as the practice of growing different crops in the same field to maintain its nutritious health while also help in the nitrogen fixation of leguminous plants regularly. It also reduces the workload of the farmer as the land has to be prepared only once and several crops can be grown in succession.

2. Mixed cropping -

Farmers do a great job by using the natural energy in the form of economic production of plants. Indian farmers never can totally depend on rain. Sometimes it may rain enough to cause floods, while other times rainfall is low and scarce conditions arise. Therefore, organic farmers use mixed cropping. In this process, the farmers simultaneously grow two or more crops in the same land. This in result reduces the crop failure chances and also the fertility of the soil is maintained. Certain crops will still prosper even if some crops fail to do so, due to the harsh conditions of nature.

3. Intercropping -

It may be defined as the practice of growing two or more crops in the same field in fixed rows and patterns with the aim of increasing productivity. This is a low-cost method and hence is adopted by small farmers whereas the farmers have the least access to irrigation facilities. It helps in making better use of renewable resources as in sunlight and water. Also, soil erosion can be easily controlled. And lastly, different crops can be harvested and thrashed separately.

Importance of organic farming -

Well in a world growing with millions of infections and illnesses, if we can help people with something then it is surely by improving the crop and farming quality. In Organic farming, the farmers try to avoid the use of synthetic pesticides or herbicides to get a better yield. You can say that the farmers here focus more on quality than quantity. It helps a farmer to earn better with higher returns. But even after so many advantages, organic farming covers only 1 percent of land worldwide.

There are numerous advantages of organic farming. Some of them are enlisted below:

1. It is better for the environment as it avoids the use of herbicides and pesticides.

2. Less detrimental effects on the environment than conventional methods.

3. Crops such as legume families help in nitrogen fixation of soil.

4. It includes methods such as crop rotation that helps to maintain the minerals in the soil.

5. It helps in sustainability.

6. It can bring up a big change in the quality of crops

7. It can generate job opportunities as a farmer as organic farming demands more labor work.

8. It prefers using weeds than herbicides so as to improve the quality of food.

9. Farm waste is recycled.

10. It maintains soil health.

Just like a coin, every aspect has two sides. Similarly, organic farming too has certain side effects. We need to look for our benefit as well as our losses.

Cons/Limitations to Organic Farming - 

1. It has been noted that 1 liter of organic milk requires 80% more land than conventional milk.

2. It may be defined as a luxury that our world cannot afford.

3. More water is required for organic farming than conventional farming. Hence, this increases the chances of water scarcity and droughts.

4. Organic farmers don't completely avoid the use of herbicides. A mixture of synthetic as well as natural herbicide is used. Herbicides with hazardous chemicals are avoided. 

5. Although it has a hood principle, the yield is not up to the mark to satisfy the demand.

6. Whilst great in theory but it is still not on the practical side of the foot.

7. If you want to generate organic milk, animal caring and proper feeding is needed. If the cows are fed well then their burps increase the amount of methane in nature.

Organic Farming Techniques in Urban Expanse -

We see that only 11% of worldwide land is used for crop production. And 15% of the world's food is produced in urban areas. Urban areas have come up with many solutions to this problem. Rooftop farming is now a viable option for urban agriculture. It can play a significant contribution to urban agricultural practices. Several other practices involved in urban agricultural practice are: 

1. The UFPP (The Urban Food Policy Pact) has planned to address every cities potential that can contribute to food security via urban agriculture and technology.

2. An urban agriculture and environmental action group, Abalimi located outside Cape-town, South Africa works for Global farmers even in India.

3. Mumbai Goes Green, in Mumbai, sells the products of green entrepreneurs, specifically leaf composer, and “square foot gardens” start-up kits on low costs to needy farmers.

4. Under The Tree, founder - Anusha Babbar hosts a variety of workshops, including “Garden in a Bottle” all over India.

Written by – Vansh Pratap Singh Rana

Edited by – Bushra Makhdoomi

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