Dr. Richa Singh
Vishveshwarya College of Agriculture
Agricultural System has a greater role to play in the development process of a country, whether in generating employment, mitigating climate change, or in improving nutrition and health. This depends on our wise selection or adoption of smart agricultural methods. With the beginning of ‘Green Revolution’ in Indian Agriculture in 1965-66, the fertilizer consumption got a huge momentum for sustaining the needs of burgeoning population. Consequently, we reached our targets and became self-sufficient in foodgrain production. However, the hazards of the intensive agricultural system are threatening as they drastically affect the ecological balance. Thus, we started thinking towards organic farming (OF) systems approach which was existing earlier (ancient time) in our society. Organic farming is a production system that sustains the health of soil, ecosystems and people. It combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life.This system includes Alternate agricultue, Low input sustainable agriculture, nature farming, biological farming regenerative agriculture and rermaculture. This production management system largely promotes the use of organic materials or on-farm resources (crop residues, animal manures, green manures, on and off farm wastes, growth regulators, biofertilizers, biopesticides, etc.), and discourages the use of synthetic off-farm inputs (fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, etc.) for maintaining the balance of nature without pollutng soil, water, and air to botain yield for a longer time. It integrates site specific agronomic, biological, and mechanical methods to foster cycling of resources and enhance agro-ecosystem health.Aims of Organic Farming are :- Conservation of soil andwater resources, prevention of pollution, exclusion of agrochemicals, conservation or enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystem services, reduction in use of fossil fuel energy in agriculture, development of more sustainalble and productive agricultural system, systematic raising of livestock protection along with the crop production, maintenance of natural balance, production of nutritious food and enhancement of rural livelihodds with profitable organic farming. Components of Organic Farming are :-(1). Soil and Water Conservation : Run-off wter which erodes the soil can be prevented by contour cultivation, contour bunding, terracing, grassing the waterways, etc. In situ water conservation techniques like broad bed and furrow system, ridge and furrow system inter-row water harvesting, inter-plot water harvesting, scooping, etc. can be adopted in dryland areas. (2) Plant Protection : Insects, pathogens, and other pests are controlled by primarily relying on crop rotations, natural predators, resistant varieties, diversity, and tillage. Thereafter, botanical thermal, and chemical interventions are applied as a last resort under restricted conditions.(3) Livestock Management : Livestock are reared by keeping full attention to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioural needs, and welfare issues (nutrition, shelter, breeding, etc.)(4) Nutrient Management : This is dealt with the use of organic materials such as, farm yard manure, compost, vermicompost, crop residues, green manures, and cover crops. Crop rotation and biofertilizers are also included for their key role in nutrient cycling. Reducing Organic Carbon (O.C.) in soil will increase upto 0.80-0.85% O.C.(5) Crop and Soil Management : The System aims at enhancing the organic matter levels in soil to maintain the long term fertility of soil. In this component, we give stress on selection of variety, timely sowing, crop rotation, green manuring, intercropping with legumes, etc. Selection of crop is very important in farming to serve many purposes like. Pgeonpea and mothbean are drought resistant legumes, forage, and cover crops. These can be grown in arid and semi-arid regions to earn maximum benefits. They can be used for combating soil erosion problems and recycling the nutrients.Importance of Organic Farming : Day-by-day, the challenges of agricultural activities are increasing, viz., increse of coltivation, water scarcity, availability of labours, etc. Under such conditions, if we continue to practice the conventional farming system, then this may aggravate the socio-economic condition along with ecological damages. Therefore, we need to adopt a holistic apporach and assess its potential benefits as compared to the intensive farming practices or conventional farming. Advantages of Organic Farming (OF) are :-Environmental advantages are :- Water conservation, biodiversity conservation, maintenance of soil health, maintenance of ecological balance, climate resilient agriculture, co tamination of soil,water, and air bychemicals is avoided and reduced emission of GHGsSocial advantages are :-Increased employment opportunities in rural areas, improved educational and health conditions, improved social capacity, establishment of farmers organizations, clubs, SHGs, NGOs, empowerment of rural women and promotion of indigenous knowledgeHealth and nutrition advantages are :-Reduction of malnutrition problems, less food hazards due to heavy metals and pesticides, access to nutritious and healthy foods (tasty and fresh), reduction in occupational chemcal exposure and, access to diverse foods with increased incomeEconomical advantages are of two type :- Direct advantage and associate advantage :- Direct advantage are :- Higher bargaining power, high export earnings, stablization in financial return with crop diversification, as the risk of main crop failure is reduced, increased farmer’s income, access to organic markets with premium prices, poverty eradication, reduction in producton cost and better purchasing powerAssociate advantage are :- Rural women empowerment, resource conservation, better health services, promotion of farmer’s organizations, promotion of indigenous knowledge, biodiversity conservation, nutritious food, increased input efficiency, employment generationOrganizations and Government Schemes/Initiatives Promoting Organic Farming In organic farming, farmers are less exposed to chemicals. organic foods are nutritious, tasty, and fresh. In most cases, these products are higher in vitamin C, antioxidant, etc. content. They are known for their quality and safety issues. The living standard of the farmer increases with continuation of organic farming practices. The international Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) is an International Organization which regulates the standards of organic farming and strengthens the organic movement globally in its full diversity byuniting and assisting more than 120 countries about the organic vision of the world.1. Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) : A participatory approach for the stakeholder (producers, Consumers, retailers, traders and others such as NGOs, Societies/Gram panchayats/Stae/Central Government organizations/agencies/farmers, etc.,) to assess, inspects, and verify the production practices of each other and take decision on organic certification (PGS-Green and PGS-Organic). The system focuses on assurance of quality at local levels, and is a platform for the participators to build trust, social networks, and exchange knowledge to continue the integrity and movement of organic farming.2. National Organic farming Research Institute, Gangtok, Sikkim : This is a research institute recently established for promoting research and education and conducting training on organic production system, especially in the North East Hills Region of India. Sikkim is a Organic Farming State in NER in the country.3. Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana : This is an expanded component of Soil Health management (SHM) of a major CSS, National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), launched in 2015. The latest technologies of organic farming are disseminated in villages among youths and farmers by cluster method and PGS certification.4. National Center of Organic farming, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh : This Centrally run Institute and its six Regional Centres at Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Panchkula, Imphal, Jabalpur and Nagpur have been established for implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), i.e., National Project on Organic Farming.5. Oranic Farming in Indian Economy : The Agriculture sector continues to be vulnerable with fluctuating arowth rate due to uncertainty of rainfall and rising of temperature (climate change). Therefore, organic farminghas great potential for addressing these issues. Sikkim is India’s first fully Organic State. The north eastern states (NER) are practicing organic agriculture. Many developing countries have adopted organic farming due to its higher profitability leading to sustainable development. The system can directly and indirectly improve the economic conditions of the farmers (Figure 2). Certified organic foods, viz., basmati rice, cereals, pulses, oil-seeds, fruits, tea, coffee, spices, honey herbal medicines, and their valueadded products are produced and available in India. Non-edible products in the organic list include cotton garments, cosmetics, body care products, and similar products. The demands of organic foods and products are high in foreign country so high export earnings are achiev able under this process. Indirectly, the organic farming system can provide some economic advantages. With increase in income levels of farmers, their socioeconomic conditions improve. The social capacity enhances, and they afford better education for their children. Establishment of SHGs, NGOs, etc. help in easy availability of credits, certification process, etc.Conclusion :- Since, agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy. Organic Farming is essential, so as to improve soil fertility, for healthy and sustainable environment. Use of green manure (Sanai, Dhaincha,), FYM, Vermi compost, NADEP (Narayan Devrao Pandhari ‘Pande’) compost, legume crops-pea, gram, urd, mung etc. (from atmospheric free 78.4% N-fix about 20-25 kg N/ha) etc. will improve the soil health.
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