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It may come as a surprise, but contrary to popular belief, organic farming does make use of pesticides! However, these organic farming pesticides are not humanmade. Additionally, they are subject to the highest standards prescribed by regulatory bodies, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (USDA-NOP), National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), IFOAM Organics International, etc.
In this article, we will take a close look at the organic pesticides for agriculture, their ingredients, and their impact.
As mentioned above, there is some amount of usage of inputs, like fungicides, herbicides, organic pesticides for agriculture. It ensures crop health and protects it from pests and insects.
So, what makes organic pesticides different from synthetic pesticides?
The answer is rather convoluted.
The primary source of organic farming pesticides determines whether the input is acceptable in organic farming or otherwise. According to the EU Council Regulation No. 834/2007, the pesticide used in organic farming should be of “plant, animal, microbial or mineral origin except where products or substances from such sources are not available in sufficient quantities or qualities or if alternatives are not available” (Article 16, para 2b).
In simpler words, the chemicals used in organic pesticides must be naturally occurring and synthesised as a result of organic processes in the ecosystem.
However, toxins that are naturally occurring, such as arsenic or strychnine, do not implicitly make it to the list of approved organic pesticides for agriculture! Additionally, genetically engineered or modified products are also discouraged in organic farming.
The use of organic pesticides for agriculture yields the following benefits:
Following is a list of major substances used as organic farming pesticides:
Even though organic pesticides have natural, organic origins, it does not mean that they do not contain any toxicity. Hence, while they are safer than their synthetic counterparts, the concentration of organic pesticides for agriculture also plays a crucial role in determining its detrimental effect on human health.
For instance, rampant usage of rotenone, a famous organic pesticide, resulted in its ban from usage in organic farming in 2011. The decision came in light of scientists discovering links between unmitigated rotenone usage and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
To offer more context, organic pesticides can be deemed harmless only to the human body when they are administered in limited and controlled dosage.
Organic pesticides are naturally more beneficial for the environment. Given their natural origins, they are more eco-friendly than the water-soluble, synthetic pesticides that percolate into the water table and cause water pollution. However, it is worth mentioning here that certain types of organic pesticides are found to be less effective, which causes farmers to overuse them, which may lead to upsetting the balance of the ecosystem.
Despite the usage of organic pesticides, organic produce and products are far healthier than their non-organic equals.
The unrestrained usage of organic pesticides may cause you to feel alarmed. However, it is an established fact that such malpractices are not common. According to a report published the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), a massive 98.7% of organic products did not cross the legal threshold of pesticide resides with nearly 83% of these registering undetectable traces. These numbers are in stark comparison with non-organic products, of which only 50% meet this criterion.
Such discoveries illustrate that organic farmers are using organic pesticides responsibly and within the prescribed limits, which makes it absolutely safe for consumption and the environment. Eventually, pesticides in any form may negatively impact the ecosystem; however, organic pesticides fare much better to yield healthier organic products. It is now up to you to make a conscious choice!
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