Organic farming is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (bio-fertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an ecofriendly pollution free environment.
Farmer’s uses are summarized as follows:
To keep and build good soil structure and fertility:
- The right soil cultivation at the right time
- Crop rotation
- Green manures and legumes
- Mulching on the soil surface to control pests, diseases and weeds:
- Careful planning and crop choice
- The use of resistant crops
- Good cultivation practice
- Crop rotation
- Encouraging useful predators that eat pests
- Increasing genetic diversity
- Using natural pesticides Organic farming also involves:
- Careful use of water resources
- Good animal husbandry.
Need of organic farming
With the increase in population, our compulsion would be not only to stabilize agricultural production but also to increase it further in sustainable manner. The scientists have realized that the ‘Green Revolution’ with high input use has reached a plateau and is now sustained with diminishing return of falling dividends. Thus, a natural balance needs to be maintained at all cost for existence of life and property. The obvious choice for that would be more relevant in the present era, when these agrochemicals, which are produced from fossil, fuel and are not renewable and are diminishing in availability. It may also cost heavily on our foreign exchange in future.
Characteristics of organic farming
- Protecting the long term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention
- Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble nutrient sources which are made available to the plant by the action of soil micro-organisms
- Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as effective recycling of organic materials including crop residues and livestock manures
- Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties and limited (preferably minimal) thermal, biological and chemical intervention
- The extensive management of livestock, paying full regard to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioral needs and animal welfare issues with respect to nutrition, housing, health, breeding and rearing
- Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider environment and the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats.