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Ensuring Sustainable Development with Organic Farming
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Vikas Tandon4/7/2020 9:04:18 PM
Presently the whole world is facing the environmental challenge. Many new issues such as destruction of ozone layer, loss of biodiversity, emerging of new insects-pests and diseases, global warming, pressure on natural resources and economic crisis have been emerging from the last few years. Thus there is need of more environmental friendly model. There is need to learn how we can mitigate the needs of increasing population while leaving the Earth in a good condition. There is need to learn how we can economically and equitably share the resources, use the less polluting technologies, waste less water and less energy. It is well established that agrochemicals are not only polluting the environment and undermining the human health but are threatening the livelihood and income security of farmers. Organic farming is considered as the miracle solution that helps to produce the healthy food for the consumers, recovers soil health which has been deteriorated by the chemical fertilizers/pesticides and eventually can save the planet Earth. Organic farming is efficient in the economic, environmental and social development. Organic farming can contribute enormously for the sustainable development. Organic farming is a farming technique that sustains, enhances and maintains the quality of the ecosystem. One can fetch more money by growing the organic crops as the prices of organic crops are more as compared to conventional crops. Now the interest for organic farming is increasing because it requires less financial inputs and places more reliance on the available natural and human resources.
Organic farming is defined as the production of crops, animals and other products without use of synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides, transgenic species or antibiotics and growth enhancing steroids or other chemicals. It is a farming system that uses environmentally friendly methods of weeds, insects-pests and diseases control. In organic farming the principles of healthy, ecology, fairness and care are always followed. Organic movement began after 1920 as a reaction by the individual agricultural scientists and farmers against industrialized agriculture. Now in 120 countries certified organic farming methods are practiced. In organic farming we found higher floral, faunal diversity and soil fertility. In biodynamic farming, the farm is viewed as a self-contained and dynamic organism that can be managed by using the internal resources and special chemical preparations that are essential to the health and vitality of composts, farm and its surroundings. Biological farming focuses on green manure, animal manure, compost and careful attention to nutrients and soil fertility. Organic farming methods combine scientific knowledge of ecology and some modern technologies with traditional farming technologies based on naturally occurring biological processes.
The British botanist Sir Albert Howard is often referred to as the father of modern organic agriculture. He noted the relationship between the rise and fall of civilizations and their agricultural practices. He documented and developed organic farming practices. His book 'An Agricultural Testament' was published in 1940.It is a classic organic farming text. His work inspired many farmers and scientists who further promoted organic farming movement. In Germany, Rudolf Steiner developed biodynamic agriculture was probably the first comprehensive system of what we now call as organic farming. His system was based on anthroposophy rather than a good understanding of science. The term organic farming was coined by Lord Northbourne. In his text he described a holistic, ecologically balanced approach to farming. In 1972, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) was founded in Versailles, France and dedicated to the dissemination of information on the principles and practices of organic agriculture. The term eco-agriculture was coined by Charles Walters in 1970 who was the founder of Acres Magazine.
Agriculture was practiced for thousands of years without the use of artificial fertilizers. Artificial fertilizers were firstly made in the mid-19th century. Artificial fertilizers use is beneficial in the short term but has serious long-term side effects such as soil compaction, decline in the soil fertility, soil erosion along with the health concerns about the toxic chemicals entering in the food supply. In 2016 Sikkim was converted into 100 per cent organic state. Now many other states of the country have shown their intensions for organic farming. Government of India is making strenuous efforts for the promotion of organic farming in the country and some new projects have been launched to promote the organic farming across the nation. 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. Moreover they are the costly affairs for the small and marginal farmers. 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.
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. 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. The emerging challenge for safe food 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.
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