Organic Farming: A new approach towards farmer's welfare
Authors: MAYUR M. PRAJAPATI, RAKESH D. DHANDHUKIA, RAKESH N. PATEL
India is one of the few geographical locations of the world where agriculture was initiated by aboriginals. Old farmers had developed understandings of natural laws, climate and available resources; India has great treasure of indigenous technological knowledge too. Organic farming has been designated for creating eco-friendly and pollution free environment. That creates ecological balance and microenvironment suitable for sound health and growth of soil micro flora, plants, animals and human beings who consume farm products (Fukuoka 1985, Thakur 1997 and Weekakoddy 1999). In the last decade, organic farming gained international recognition as a viable substitute to conventional farming. There is an increasing awareness about health and environmental pollution resulting into preference and demand for organic foods by consumer and as such; the organic produce is fetching much higher prices in the market of USA, European countries and Japan. Economic status of the people in country like India mostly depends upon the agricultural production. Need for more intensive and economic agricultural production led to indiscriminate use of high doses of chemical fertilizers, pesticides etc, relentless use of these chemicals not only alter the eco-system but also claim death to many lives every year due to their hazardous nature.
Organic farming may be defined as a production system, which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additive. The definition of organic farming has been perceived differently by different people. To the most of them, it implies the use of organic manures and natural methods of plant protection instead of using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The total Indian organic farming industry is estimated at around US$ 20 million/Rs 100 crore (2000). The sixty eight per cent of total cultivated area in the state remain unirrigated even after commencement of Narmada irrigation water. Most of it is arid and semi arid including hilly tract from Banaskantha in north and to Valsad in south were consumption of fertilizers and pesticides is considerably low. The spice belt of north Gujarat, fruit and vegetables belt of south Gujarat and ground nut and sesame belt of Saurashtra can easily be brought under organic farming as these all crops have export potentials. The resource poor areas of Surendranagar, Patan and Kutch district also have good opportunities in organic farming.
Organic farming is projected as a farming system with better prospects, remedy to solve present problems of conventional farming and sustainable method of cultivation. It is also important to know the attitude of farmers towards organic farming. The practices viz., intercropping, crop rotation, weed management, water management, use of FYM, vermicompost, biofertilizer & oil cake and use of pheromone trap & cow dung/urine were found popular among farmers, while rest of the practices were not found popular among the farmers. It is quite clear that the efforts of popularizing such practices are less because there is no trained extension functionaries hence, it is highly required that government should organize training for extension functionaries on organic farming so that they can train the farmers accordingly in these aspects.
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About Author / Additional Info:
Completed Ph.D. Agriculture in the discipline of Extension Education from Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University, Sardarkrushinagar, Dist. Banaskantha, Gujarat.