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Knowledge Base

What is organic farming?

Organic farming is an eco-friendly approach involving techniques to produce better crop yields. It doesn’t damage the environment and the ecosystem as this method has inhibited the use of synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, genetically modified organisms or artificial food additives.

In traditional farming in our country many chemicals are used and those chemicals react with different components of ecosystem and harm it. Fertilizers and pesticides used in farming has become a serious concern as those compounds degrade the ecosystem and cause soil pollution, water pollution and have effect on the ozone layer. Using those chemicals also causes food contamination which has direct effect on our health.

In concern to our health, environment and ecosystem organic farming has been introduced. According to the definition of the United States Department of Agriculture “Organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection”.

Farmers use organic fertilizers like composted crop wastes, animal excreta, crop rotation, green manures and legumes in organic farming. And to control the pests the farmers use natural pesticides, bio fertilizers and crop rotation in the farm.

 

How to do organic farming?

A. Involving traditional method: Sometimes organic farming include the traditional methods which are considered as useful in recent times  does not mean going ‘back’ to traditional methods. Many of the farming methods used in the past are still useful today. Organic farming takes the best of these and combines them with modern scientific knowledge.

 

Organic farmers do not leave their farms to be taken over by nature; they use all the knowledge, techniques and materials available to work with nature. In this way the farmer creates a healthy balance between nature and farming, where crops and animals can grow and thrive.

To be a successful organic farmer, the farmer must not see every insect as a pest, every plant out of place as a weed and the solution to every problem in an artificial chemical spray. The aim is not to eradicate all pests and weeds, but to keep them down to an acceptable level and make the most of the benefits that they may provide.

 

B. Combined techniques:  On an organic farm, each technique would not normally be used on its own. The farmer would use a range of organic methods at the same time to allow them to work together for the maximum benefit. For example the use of green manures and careful cultivation, together provide better control of weeds than if the techniques were used on their own.

 

 

Crop Rotation: A technique to grow various kinds of crops in the same area, according to different seasons, in a sequential manner

Green Manure: Refers to the dying plants that are uprooted and stuffed into the soil in order to make them act as a nutrient for the soil to increase its quality

Biological Pest Control: A method in which living organisms are used to control pests, without or with limited use of chemicals

Compost: Highly rich in nutrients, this is a recycled organic matter used as a fertilizer in the agricultural farms

 

 

Crop Diversity

Earlier, Monoculture was the only practice used in the agricultural fields wherein only one type of crop was harvested and cultivated in a particular location. However, in the recent world, Polyculture has come into the picture wherein different kinds of crops are harvested and cultivated in order to meet the increasing crop demand and produce the required soil microorganisms.

Soil Management

After the season of cultivation has been conducted, the soil loses its nutrients and becomes less in quality. Rather than using harmful chemicals to enhance this soil, organic agriculture focuses on implementing natural ways to not only increase the health of soil but also keep the nature and human health unharmed. One of the best examples of natural ways to enhance soil is the use of bacteria that is present in animal waste. This bacteria help in making the soil nutrients more productive; much higher as compared to the chemical containing liquids.

Weed Management

“Weed”, in simple words, is nothing but the unwanted plant that grows in agricultural fields. However, in organic agriculture, there is more focus on suppressing the weed rather than eliminating it completely.

The two most widely used weed management techniques are:

Mulching – a process wherein plastic films are used in order to block the growth of weed

Mowing and cutting – wherein there is a removal of weeds’ top growth

Controlling other organisms

While certain organisms prove to be beneficial to the health of the agricultural farm, there are many others that hamper the field. Hence, the growth of such organisms needs to be controlled to protect the soil and crops. Out of the long list, following are the three most commonly used and important ways of controlling other organisms in organic agriculture:

Encouraging ladybugs, minute pirate bugs and other such predatory beneficial insects that feast on pests and fly away from the farm

Using herbicides and pesticides that are natural or contain less chemical

Proper sanitization of the entire farm in order to keep it free from pests

Livestock

There can be no better place for the pet animals to get fresh air, food and a great exercise than the green farm. Since everything is preferred to be in a natural way, just like the animals were used as labor in the earlier times for plowing, organic agriculture encourages the use of domestic animals to increase the sustainability of the farm.

Genetic Modification

Since organic agriculture encourages the use of natural ways to enhance the farm, crops and soil; there is a discouragement of genetically engineered animals and plants. Hence, genetic modification is kept out of this agriculture. However, there is an argument keeping in mind that the pollen present in such modified crops are present in the stock of seeds used for organic agriculture, making it impossible to keep this completely out of this agriculture.

Organic agriculture is being conducted by many countries with the rejection of using techniques and chemicals that harm animals, crops, soil, environment and even the human health. Hence, such a process of agriculture should be encouraged since it acts as a protection shield to all the main factors that form the planet.