Submitted by arun65
In last few decades awareness about social and environmental issues has been increased. Agriculture is one of basic enterprise that has major role in these two issues . Organic agriculture is one of the agriculture production system that not only supportive to the environment but also sensitive to the social issues like employment, health, migration etc. Definitions given by two international organizations also verifies this concept. These definitions are-
1.Organic agriculture: is a holistic management system ,which enhances agro-ecosystem health, utilizing both traditional &scientific knowledge. Organic agriculture systems rely on ecosystem management rather than external agricultural inputs. (IFOAM,2006)
2.Organic agriculture: is an environmentally and socially Sensitive food supply system. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of independent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.(FAO,2002)
In simple words organic farming is the production system with the optimum utilization of local resources in such a way so that sustainability of production and wellness of the society & environment can be maintained for fairly long time.
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE VS CONVENTIONAL(CHEMICAL) FARMING- IDEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES
Although organic agriculture is seems to be just the exclusion of synthetic external inputs but it is the ideological differences with conventional farming that makes OA ,friendly to society and environment. These differences are-
Conventional (chemical) farming
Harmony with NATURE (Harness thebenefit)
Domination on NATURE ( Exploit forprofit)
Input optimization (save more)
Output maximization (spend more)
OBJECTIVES OF ORGANIC FARMING
According to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) the objectives of organic farming are as follows:
To produce food of high nutritional quality in sufficient quantities
To work in harmony with natural systems rather than seeking to dominate them
To encourage and enhance the biological cycles within farming system involving microorganisms, soil flora and fauna, plants and animals
To maintain and increase the long term fertility of soilsTo use, as far as possible, renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems
To work, as much as possible, within a closed system with regard to organic matter and nutrient elements
To give all livestock, conditions of life that allow them to perform all aspects of their innate behavior
To avoid all forms of pollution that may result from agricultural techniques
To maintain the generic diversity of the agricultural system and its surroundings, including the protection of plants and wild life habitat
To allow agricultural producers an adequate return and satisfaction from their work including a safe working environment
To consider the wider social and ecological impact of the farming system
Essential characters of organic farming
The most important essential characters of organic farming are as follows:
Maximal but sustainable use of local resources
Use of purchased inputs, only as complementary to local resourcesIncreasing crop and animal diversity in the form of poly-cultures, agroforestry, integrated crop/livestock systems, etc. to minimize risk and improve ecological balance and economic stability
Ensuring the basic biological functions of soil-water-nutrient-humus continuum
Creating an attractive overall landscape which gives satisfaction to the local people
Thus, to sum up mixed farming, crop rotation and organic cycle optimization are the three key principles of organic agriculture.
Advantages of organic farming
Some important advantages of organic farming experiences worldwide are as follows:
It creates optimal conditions in soil for improved growth and physiological activities of plants and the higher crop yield
It improves soil physical, chemical and biological conditions
It improves soil carbon content (carbon sequestration)
Utilizing organic wastes as an input minimizes pollution
It mitigates environmental degradation
It is more resistant to diseases, insects and pests
Organically grown produce are believed to be nutritionally superior and good for health
Higher demand of organically produced food coupled with its premium price may improve economy of the farmer and the region
Essential Components of the organic system
There are three major components of organic system that creates core environment for organic production system. There may be some minor components of location specific.
Three major components are-
Maintaining agro-diversity through cropping system, integration of animals and other beneficial flora and fauna. Conservation and efficient utilization of local resources with lest dependency on external inputs.Farness in production and utilization so that every stakeholder of the system gets his due share.
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE FOR
Health, employment , economic stability cooperation among the members of the society are some of the key components that ensures the progress and wellness of the society. Organic farming based on promotion of these components by following ways:-
1.Health:Organic production system prohibits the use of synthetic chemicals thus not only field workers/ farmers gets good environment but the consumers also gets chemical free food. This minimizes health problems due to exposure of chemicals.
2.Employment:Since organic farming promotes use of local recourses and decentralized input supply therefore, there is good possibility of employment generation in input preparation, soil and water conservation work etc. Many state governments now using this opportunity for employment under MNRGA scheme .
3.Economic stability:In organic farming use of external inputs is minimized therefore cost of production reduced to great extent. Further, due to quality production organic produce get 10-15% premium price. By these two factors farmers economic conditions improve. This has been proved by a survey of organic farms all over the India ,done by Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal .(Ramesh et.al. 2010).
4.Fairness:Organic agriculture ensures fairness and equality to all the stakeholders comes form production to consumption chain.
B. ECOLOGICAL SECURITY
Practices that maintain ecological balance are, in other word securing the ecology of and area or the earth as a whole. Organic farming helps in ecological security by following ways-
Conservation of biodiversity: Organic farming avoids monoculture and promotes production system that follows crop rotation, use of flora and fauna useful for production. This maintain ecological balance. Further, non chemical (synthetic)management of nutrition and protection of crops further helps in maintaining food chain and ecosystem balance.Mitigating effect of climate change: Worldwide 90 million tons of mineral oil or natural gas are processed to get Nitrogenous fertilizers every year. This generates 250 million tons of CO2 emission. On the contrary, organic farms returns 575 to 700 kg CO2 to the soil. Organic farming thus reduces CO2 emission by eliminating synthetic fertilizers, and at the same time reduces atmospheric concentration of this gas by storing in the soil, a win-win system(Niggli,2008). Further, soils with higher humus content can adapt to the adverse effect of climate change.
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE : SUITABLE TO SOCIETY AND ECOLOGY OF ARID ZONE
Diversified farming system:Farming systems in the region are highly diversified in nature with crops, trees, animals, grasses etc. This system is scientifically efficient in nutrient recycling and restoration of soil fertility. In these systems 10-30 trees/ha are available and 2-5 animals are reared by a farm family. This integrated farming system minimizes pest incidence as well as favors organic farming and controls desertification.Rich traditional wisdom: Rich traditional wisdom in these areas for restoration of soil fertility and for pest control further strengthen and provide strong infrastructure for organic system.Natural Availability of inputs:Plants like neem, pongamia, calotropis etc. are the best sources of biopesticides , are abundantly available in these areas. Minerals like rock phosphate, gypsum and lime are available in large quantity. These are good soil ameliorator as well as good nutrients supplier. Further the farming systems are dominated by animals. Waste and product of huge animal population can be a best source .of balanced nutrient supply.Employment opportunities: High density as well as high growth of human resource remains underutilized through out the year due to erratic rainfall and limited irrigation facilities. Migration of human resources during drought imbalances the development of the state. Since the organic farming is labour intensive and input supply made at local level, there is ample opportunity for employment and proper utilization of human resource.Soil improvement: Soils are poor in water holding capacity and deficient in most of these essential nutrients. Addition of organic matter not only improves the water holding capacity but also make the soil to supply nutrients in balanced manner .This trend in soil properties improved was observed by Ramesh et.al.(2010) in an all India survey of organic farms.
Therefore there are ample opportunities in arid areas for promotion of organic farming.
MODEL ORGANIC FARM(MOF) AT CAZRI
Considering the possibilities and to explore them through experimentation on organic production system for low rainfall areas, a 2.0 ha model organic farm has been established in 2008 ,within the central research farm CAZRI, Jodhpur.The farm registered for certification and got status of “Certified Organic Farm” in the year 2011. Presently experments on development of package of practices for high value crops , soil health monitoring and climate resilience system are being conducted in this certified organic farm.