The environment has suffered a lot from the regular use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Organic farming was actually initiated as an answer to the ‘pesticide era’.
Organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally occurring substances while strictly limiting synthetic substances. It is an agricultural system that works in harmony with nature.
What is Organic Farming?
Organic farming can be defined as an agricultural process that uses biological fertilizers such as compost manure, green manure, bone meal, and pest control acquired from plant and animal waste.
It repairs, maintains, and improves the ecological balance. It uses fewer pesticides, reduces soil erosion, decreases nitrate leaching into groundwater and surface water, and recycles animal wastes back into the farm.
Principles of organic farming
Principle of health - According to this principle, the health of soil, plant, human, and animal should be sustained in organic farming. Healthy soil produces healthy crops that foster the health of animals and people.
Principle of fairness – According to this principle, fairness should be ensured at all levels with regard to the common environment and life opportunities.
Principle of ecological balance – It states that production should be based on ecological processes and recycling. It connects organic farming with a living ecological system.
Principle of care -This principle states that precautions and responsibility are the key concern in the management and development of organic farming. Precautions must be taken to protect well being of present and future generations and the environment.
Schemes for Organic Farming
Mission organic value chain development for Northeastern region:
It was launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare. It aims to develop certified organic products and to link growers with consumers. The assistance of Rs 25,000 per hectare is provided to farmers for three years for organic inputs.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana:
Launched in 2015, it is an elaborated component of soil health management. It promotes organic farming through the adoption of organic villages by cluster approach in participatory guarantee system certification. It includes modern science and traditional wisdom in value chain mode to build up soil fertility, sustainability, and conservation of resources. Rs. 50,000 per ha /3 years assistance is provided.
Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) under Soil Health Management Scheme:
Government agencies are provided with 100% assistance for setting up compost production units of mechanized vegetables and fruits market waste and agro-waste up to a limit of Rs. 190 lakh/ unit. It aims to increase agricultural productivity while maintaining soil health.
National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm:
Under this Mission, financial assistance at 50 percent subsidy to Rs. 300 per hectare is being provided for different components including biofertilizers, Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria (PSB), Zinc Solubilizing Bacteria, Azotobacter, Mycorrhiza, and vermicompost.
National Food Security Mission :
Under this scheme, financial assistance is provided for the promotion of biofertilizers at 50 percent of the cost limited to Rs 300 per hectare.
Advantages of organic farming
It ensures the basic biological functions of soil water nutrients.
It helps in the protection of long-term soil fertility by maintaining organic matter levels and increasing soil biological activity.
Organic farming does not include the use of fertilizers and pesticides which therefore make it nutritional for human intake and helps in better growth and development of the human body.
Organic farming is eco-friendly as it has no negative impact on the environment and maintains proper balance in the ecosystem.
The natural level of resistance towards pests and disease is more.
The process of organic farming supports healthy soil and pollinators.
Soils from organic farms are known to produce items that have higher antioxidant, vitamin E, and omega - 3 fatty acids content.
Disadvantages of organic farming
Its produce faces challenges of inefficient marketing and distribution to meet the demand of the world's population.
Organic produce has a shorter shelf life.
The cost of production is high.
Organic food is more expensive due to higher production costs, less availability of land, and lack of workforce in comparison to conventional farming.
Initial years of organic farming are not productive as there is no use of chemicals like fertilizers for the growth of a plant
Organic farming has a limited production as farmers are not aware of organic farming and food security is also low.
No subsidies are offered to most organic farmers.
India ranks 1st position in the number of organic farmers and 9th in the area under organic farming.
By converting around 75000 hectares of agricultural land to sustainable cultivation Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic state.
The size of the Indian organic food market is Rs.100 Crore.
Many villages of Madhya Pradesh have been declared organic.
Traditionally, Northeastern India has been organic and the consumption of chemicals is very less than compared to the rest of the country.
The major organic exports from India have been flax seeds, soybean, tea, medicinal plants, rice, and pulses.
Uttarakhand is the first state to establish an organic commodities board and created organic export zones by establishing organic bio villages. In 2019, the Uttarakhand government introduces Organic Agriculture Act.