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How is Organic Farming Promoting Sustainable Development in Agriculture? - 24 Mantra Organic

How is Organic Farming Promoting Sustainable Development in Agriculture? - 24 Mantra Organic

How-is-Organic-Farming-Promoting-Sustainable-Development-in-Agriculture?

How is Organic Farming Promoting Sustainable Development in Agriculture?

Organic Lifestyle
30.11.2020

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there are over 570 million farms in the world, and around 70 to 80 per cent of them are family farms. Meanwhile, the world population is expected to reach 9.6 billion in 2050 from 7 billion in 2012 [1]. The message is clear: there is a pressing need to have sustainable development in agriculture to feed almost 10 billion mouths.

Sustainable development in agriculture implies doing more with less through various practices, including vertical and organic farming. In this article, we’ll discuss some sustainable agriculture practices and explain how we can achieve sustainable development in agriculture with organic farming.

What is Organic Farming?

Organic farming is a type of agricultural practice that uses ecologically based pest controls and biological fertilizers. These products are usually made from the waste of animals and plants, as well as nitrogen-fixing cover crops. In India, the interest in organic farming has increased over the last few years as more and more people are shifting towards a healthy lifestyle. The move towards organic farming is also due to its lower cost and reliance on available natural resources instead of expensive fertilizers.

Image source: The Live Nagpur

Some studies show that organic farming has a relative advantage in areas with erratic or less rainfall and poor soil quality. Farmers are quickly realizing that there are good returns on organic farming, which is critical in a profession where paid labour is almost negligible. Organic agriculture does not need costly investments in irrigation, energy, and external inputs but rather substantial investments in capacity building through research and training.

Pro-poor organic agricultural policies have the potential to improve local food security, especially in marginal areas. Therefore, organic farming is not only sustainable for agriculture, but also for farmers and economies at large. The importance given to organic agriculture is due to several reasons: higher income, preservation of natural resources, self-reliance, and rural development.

Income Generation

The biggest motivator of sustainable development in agriculture through organic farming is income generation. Farmers can generate relatively higher income by capitalizing on the growing demand for organic food, international exports, or by saving other costs associated with farming, such as fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers are becoming reliant on natural and human resources and saving external input costs, thereby lowering crop production costs.

Moreover, the rising potential of organic farming is not only fueled by public demand and their willingness to pay a premium but also due to the aggressive promotion and marketing of organic products. More and more people are ditching chemical-infused food produce and embracing organic food because of its myriad health benefits. Studies have shown that organic diets benefits growth, boosts the immune system, and reduced weight gain [2].

Techniques and Practices Of Organic Farming for Sustainable Development in Agriculture

Organic farming practice involves several techniques that aim to improve agricultural production. These techniques can involve careful management of farm resources and other assets to manage the physical and biological components. It involves several interrelated farming techniques such as:

1. Composting for Soil Management

Organic farming uses animal and plant waste to create biofertilizers. Once the crop is cultivated, the soil often loses its nutrient and quality. Organic farming, therefore, emphasis the use of microorganisms in the atmosphere, plant and animal waste to produce organic fertilizer. Composting is also a popular method to recycle waste such as weeds, dung, night soil, crop residue, and leftover of harvest processing. It improves the structure, quality and nutrients of  soil and has a positive effect on the plant’s resistance to disease and pests.

2. Crop Diversity

For sustainable development in agriculture, farmers are following a new practice called Polyculture, a method through which a variety of crops are simultaneously grown to meet the rising demand for food. This also ensures the soil quality doesn’t deteriorate over a period of time.

Image source: La Croix

3. Genetic Modification

Organic farming emphasizes the use of natural methods, and genetic modification is, therefore, refrained from in this practice. It promotes sustainable development in agriculture since it doesn’t use an artificial variety of the crop and retains the original taste, texture, and flavour of the crops and livestock.

4. Weed Management

Weed is an unwanted plant that grows alongside crops in farming. Organic farming doesn’t believe in eradicating weed completely but in lowering its frequency through crop rotation. Crop rotation provides a permanent solution to weed management since it doesn’t let the weed adapt to a particular type of farming.

5. Controlling Other Organisms

Soil is home to both useful and harmful organisms, which can determine the quality of the produce. The growth of unwanted organisms needs to be controlled to protect both the crops and soil. For sustainable development in agriculture, organic farmers use herbicides that are natural and free of chemicals. Also, the farm is properly sanitized to check the growth of these unwanted pests.

6. Livestock

Organic farming propagates organic livestock management for sustainable development in agriculture. Organic livestock is raised differently than its conventional counterpart. It restricts the use of antibiotics and growth hormones and emphasizes pasture. With such practices, organic livestock benefits animal, people, and the environment. Not only organic livestock have a better quality of life but it also increases the farm’s sustainability.

Health Benefits of Organic Food

Organically grown crops are believed to have less nitrate quantity and more of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Studies show that having organic food can lower exposure to pesticide residue and antibiotic-resistant bacteria [3]. The level of chemicals in inorganic food can accumulate in the body over time and can cause harm. Washing, peeling, or cooking food can reduce the level of these chemicals but doesn’t remove them entirely. To sum up the benefits:

  • Organic crops are grown with natural fertilizers, implying no ingestion of chemicals.
  • Weeds are controlled naturally through crop rotation or with organic-approved herbicides, improving soil quality.
  • Pests are controlled using natural methods.


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