Organic Agriculture: Alternate for Sustainable Cultivation
Authors: Pawan kumar*, Rahul Bhardwaj, Ritu Choudhary
What is Organic Agriculture?
Organic agriculture is a system of agriculture which does not use any form of synthetic fertilizers or other agro-chemicals and is entirely dependent on organic sources for crop nutrition and crop husbandry. The main aim of organic agriculture is to develop a sustainable agriculture system, which conserves environment, land resources and crop diversity and ensures adequate food production by maintaining soil fertility. This type of agriculture relies on locally available goods. In organic agriculture the maintenance of soil fertility and the control of pests and diseases are achieved through the enhancement of biological processes and ecological interaction.
What are Advantages of Organic Agriculture?
Organic agriculture has various advantages over conventional agriculture. This system of agriculture avoids pollution hazard and less energy is used. Since no chemical pesticides, hormones and antibiotics are used, residues from these substances are no longer a danger for human health. Organic food fetches more prices than the produce obtained from conventional agriculture. Furthermore, the organic agriculture is less mechanized than conventional agriculture.
Biologically active soil is the foundation of organic agriculture. Plants grown in healthy soil are naturally more resistant to pest and diseases. The fertility of the soil in organic agriculture is maintained through the use of farmyard manure, green manure, compost, vermi-compost, concentrated organic manures, plant residues and bio-fertilizers. Therefore, in organic agriculture the cultivation cost is low compared to conventional agriculture. In organic agriculture, diseases and pests are controlled through physical, cultural and biological methods and also by crop rotation practices. Thus the ecology is stable in organic agriculture.
What are Principles of the Organic Agriculture?
Organic agriculture practices are governed by a number of principles which are as follows:
• To maintain the soil fertility in long term without any effect to flora and fauna.
• To ensure production of food grain of high nutritional quality without pesticide residues.
• To conserve soil and water resources.
• To promote and enhance the use of renewable sources in agriculture practices.
• To avoid he problem of environmental pollution arising owing to fertilizers and pesticides based conventional agriculture system.
• To ensure the conservation of biological diversity.
• To sustain the genetic diversity of the agricultural system including the protection of plant, livestock and wildlife habitats.
• To encourage and enhance biological cycles including micro-organisms.
• To promote sustainable production and cultivation process in the long run; and
• To maintain the ecological stability or ecological balance.
Why Organic Agriculture is Need of the Hour?
Conventional agriculture practices are heavily based on the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides had created the burgeoning problems of land degradation, environmental deterioration, contamination of agricultural products with pesticide residues, genetic erosion (loss of desi varieties), seepage of water and water logging, lowering of ground water tables, inter crop disparities, emergence of several diseases, pest multiplication and pest resurgence and resistance. Land degradation includes soil erosion, soil salinity, soil alkalinity, soil sodicity acidity and loss of soil fertility while the environmental deterioration includes soil, water and air pollution.
What are Management Practices in Organic Agriculture?
Organic food is produced following a system of management practices that seek to nurture ecosystems. Such practices achieve sustainable productivity and provide weed and pest control through diverse mix of mutually dependent life forms, recycling plant and animal residues, crop selection and rotation, water management, tillage and cultivation. Soil fertility is maintained and enhanced through a system which optimizes biological activity and the physical and mineral nature of the soil as a means to providing a balanced nutrient supply to plant and animal life.
In organic agriculture manures, green manures, compost, vermin-compost, bio-fertilizes, oil cakes and oil meals are used to ameliorate the fertility of the soil. Weeds, insects and diseases are controlled using cultural, biological and physical methods of control.
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides based conventional agriculture practices had led to quantum jump in food grain production but at the cost of land degradation, environmental pollution and genetic erosion. However, the organic agriculture which is based on the locally available goods strictly avoids the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and growth hormones, thus avoiding the problem of land degradation and environmental deterioration. The food grains produced by organic agriculture are free from pesticide residues and are of high nutritional quality. Therefore, the organic agriculture is the need of the hour not only for the ecological stability and conservation of resources but also for the sound human health.
About Author / Additional Info:
Ph.D. Scholar, Rajasthan Agriculture Research Institute