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Challenges and Opportunities in Organic Farming
9/12/2018 9:38:04 PM
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma

Organic farming is a production system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic fertlizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. The basic objective of organic farming is the environmental, social and economic sustainability. Organic farming is a method which recognizes the ecological interconnections between different compartments of cropping. The organic farmer regards the farm unit as an ecosystem and recognizes that a change in one part of the system can disturb many inter-relationships that exist within the unit. The diversity at farm level creates an ecosystem that has biological checks and balances that help to prevent any one species of insect, disease or weed from becoming a problem. Natural ecosystems are characterized by a continual growth; decay and recycling of nutrients. The farm residual are utilized in the soil to build biological fertility. It is difficult to cycle all the nutrients internally. It has been observed that about 60-90 per cent of the nutrients can be recycled. In advanced natural ecosystem producer and consumers stay together and nutrients loss is completely eliminated. This principle helps to diminish the acute dependence on outside support of nutrients, integration both animal feed production and local settlement. Organic farming is a market demand driven agriculture which aims to fetch more prices. Postharvest crop residues can be utilized to the fullest extent. Organic farming has experienced a dramatic expansion in all the crops due to increase in the awareness in the food security and environment safety. With the awareness on organic farming the area under organic farming is increasing every year. Currently the demand for organic products is more than supply. The market for organic crops growing at a very high rate each year. The reduction in the input cost in organic farming ensures higher economic net returns. The emerging challenge for food security and environment sustainability can be mitigated by the organic farming. Good market demand for organic products will have a positive impact on the socio-economic status of the farmers.
The term 'Organic Farming' was coined by Northbourne (1940).Organic farming is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way ,so as to keep the soil in good health by the use of organic wastes and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes. Nutrients are provided to crops for increased sustainable production in an ecofriendly and pollution free environment. The aim is to create integrated, human, environmentally and economically sustainable production system which maximize reliance on farm derived renewable resources and management of ecological and biological processes and interactions so as to provide acceptable level of crop, livestock and human nutrition, protection from pests and diseases and appropriate return to the human and other resources. Organic farming means holistic production systems which refer earth friendly methods for cultivation and food processing. It differs from other systems by the certification procedures, specific standards and a specific labeling scheme. Organic farming respects the environment by friendly practice of weeds, insect-pests and diseases control. Insecticides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, growth hormones and antibiotics are not used in organic farming. Ecofriendly techniques are employed to increase the production. Organic farming is based on the integral relationship and we need to understand the relationship between different entities of a farm. The organic farming is based on organic relationship. Organic farming can be perceived as a system which should always be in search of natural alternatives suitable to the local specificity. The organic manures supply the nutrients in the soil, promote microbial activities and improve physical, biological and chemical properties of soils.
The demand for organic food is increasing due to the ill-effects of the agrochemicals on environmental and human health. In present era organic farming is drawing the attention due to its potential to produce the healthy and safe food together with the environmental protection.Organic farming also has the potential to increase the income and employment of the farmers.J&K is recognised as the megadiverse state and organic farming has the potential to conserve the biodiversity of the state.With the launch of National Programme on Organic Products(NPOP) the certified organic area is also increasing in the state.J&K has huge potential in organic farming as already the farmers in hilly areas are hardly applying the agro-chemicals in their crops.Agriculture is the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir state and this sector provides employment directly or indirectly to around 70 per cent of the state population.Despite population increase the area under agriculture land use has not increased. Agriculture contributes about 65 per cent of the state revenue which signifies the overdependence of the state on agriculture. The total geographical area of this state is 2, 22, 236 sq. km and its population is 1, 25, 48,926 (Census 2011).Jammu and Kashmir is a mountainous state in which Jammu region is predominantly sub-tropical while Kashmir and Ladakh regions are temperate. The average size of land holding of the state is only 0.73 hectare. The Environment Sustainability Index of the state is worsening and is a matter of grave concern for the scientists and policy makers. There are various factors which are responsible for the environmental catastrophe in the state. The use of fertilizers and other agrochemicals is on rise in the state which deteriorate the soil health. Organic farming is a method of farming in which we largely exclude the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones and we maintain the soil fertility by the organic manures, green manures, crop rotation etc. It is a unique system of farming which sustains the agro-ecosystem including biodiversity and soil biological activities. According to the National Commission on Farmers organic farming should be the major tool for the second green revolution specially in the hilly areas.
Over the years, the farmers of the hilly state Jammu and Kashmir have adopted new agricultural technologies but still the state is having low productivity of almost all the crops. There is need to develop systematic approach and plan for the development in organic farming in Jammu and Kashmir as the state has immense potential for organic farming. Several steps have been taken by the government in order to highlight the importance of organic agriculture in the growth of the state economy. There is need to make rigorous efforts to promote organic farming in state as the state has immense scope in this sector. Soil health is deteriorating day- by- day due to indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers in the soil. In order to sustain the health of soil organic farming is the best option. Organic farming is picking up pace in the state and there is need of awareness and trainings of farmers for organic farming. J&K has huge potential for organic farming as a large area in the state is already under semi-organic cultivation in hilly districts of the state due to the lack of availability of chemical fertilizers in these areas and the farmers of these areas hardly apply the chemical fertilizers. Basmati rice of R. S. Pura, rajmah of Bhaderwah, potato of Gurez and Machil and red rice of Tangdar, Kupwara, ginger and turmeric of Pouni, Reasi are major exportable organic products in the state and have the potential to fetch more returns in the market. There is need to explore markets in the country and abroad for saffron, basmati rice, rajmash, spices and various other agricultural produce from the state.
The farmers of Jammu & Kashmir can tap the opportunity of growing demand of organic products. Organic agriculture is generally environment friendly maintains soil health and enhance biodiversity. Already large numbers of farmers of the state are growing spices, basmati rice, walnuts, herbs etc. organically. There is need to introduce organic farming commercially, scientifically and in a systematized way so that the farmers can get rich dividends and farming can become sustainable. Keeping the importance of organic products there is need to shift from chemical to organic farming. Organic farming system is not new and it is being followed from ancient times. It is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land in such a way so that the soil health can be maintained. There is an immense scope for organic Basmati rice in the state which is grown on more than 35,000 hectares of land in the state and has a production of over 88,000 metric tonnes, besides rajmash, spices, saffron, pulses and potato. There is need to provide logistic support for organic farming to the farmers so that they can maximum benefits from it.
Modern crop farming has enhanced the food grain production but it has caused many problems to the environment and human health. Besides, it has contributed to global warming. The imbalanced use of agro-chemicals in soil and on plants is not only damaging the soil bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes etc. but has given rise to phenomenon like pest resistance and pest resurgence. Dependence on the external inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, machines etc. have increased rural indebtedness and created dependencies. Our farmers have indulged in indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In order to increase the agricultural production and control of insect-pests and diseases, our farmers are increasingly depending on agro-chemicals. Now the people are questioning the impact of modern agriculture on environment, economic and social aspects. Many farmers are seeking the alternative practices that would make agriculture more sustainable and productive. Organic farming is the only alternative taking care of all ecological aspects. A natural balance needs to be maintained for sustainability of crop production system. Therefore, recycling of resources through organic farming approach is of paramount importance.
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