- MOST RECENT
Four Guiding Principles of Organic Farming
Organic farming or organic agriculture is the practice of excluding chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. and using natural techniques to grow crops and rear animals. It contributes to soil health and restores balance in the ecosystem.
Organic food has seen a surging demand in India, with more and more people opting for healthier and non-synthetic options when it comes to their diet. And this is all for good reason, as organic food comes with huge benefits, like:
Hence, organic farming methods have been researched and implemented all over India, majorly since the 20th century. Although organic farming techniques originate from ancient times, our recent concern for the planet and its resources has moved us towards a healthier path through organic farming.
To understand the benefits of organic farming methods in building a sustainable planet and preserving our ecosystem, you need to understand its differences from conventional farming techniques.
|Makes use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers to grow crops||Makes use of composting and biodiversity to create natural ways of fertilizing the soil|
|More emission of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change||Significantly reduces our carbon footprint by conserving and building soil health|
|Leads to soil erosion, water pollution, and chemically contaminated crops||Leads to soil preservation, makes water and air cleaner, and produces healthy crops|
|Adversely affects human health||Improves human health through nutritional food|
|Neglects biological factors||Maintains biological diversity|
In addition to the above benefits, organic farming:
According to USDA, “Government research and policy initiatives often play a key role in the adoption of new farming technologies and systems.”
In that respect, Biofach India provides data that “the total organic agricultural area in Asia is nearly 3.3 million hectares. The leading countries by area are China (1.9 million hectares) and India (1 million hectares). Organic wild collection areas play a major role in India.”
So, let’s get acquainted with the organic farming methods that lead to a sustainable India, and the rest of the world.
Growing the same crop in a piece of land for years and years eventually chips away at the soil’s fertility. Some of the nutrients are depleted and the salinity of the soil increases. To avoid this occurrence, farmers have adopted crop rotation as an effective organic farming method.
Crop rotation is the practice of planting different crops on the same plot of land across different seasons. This reduces the pressure of nutrients, pests, and weed. The rotation pattern has to be planned in a way that the nutrient balance is maintained.
For example, if a farmer plants corn for a season, the soil loses its nitrogen value after the harvest. In this case, if corn is followed by a crop of beans, they return nitrogen to the soil, thus restoring the nutrient balance.
Intercropping is the practice of growing multiple crops in close proximity to maintain soil vitality. Maintaining crop diversity is crucial for soil health, as it combats diseases and allows insect & pest management.
Many farmers prefer to grow mango trees alongside yams, sweet potato, or cassava. Similarly, ginger, turmeric, cabbage, etc. are used to practice crop diversity. Often, vegetables like radish and cucumber are grown with maize, and onion and pepper are grown together.
Combining these crops ensures the nutrient value of the soil is not lost, and the farmer can rely on his yield even if one crop fails for the season. Also known as polyculture, this practice strives to fulfil the increasing demand for crops without putting pressure on the farmer or the land.
Composting refers to decomposing organic matter through a natural process to produce “compost”, which is a soil conditioner. Compost fertilizes the soil and replaces chemical fertilizers to yield healthier crops.
Vermicomposting is the practice of using different worm species to break down organic matter and produce a nutrient-rich and organic fertilizer. Usage of this fertilizer for farming ensures you get vegetables devoid of chemical contamination.
Organic food products contribute to a healthy lifestyle by supplying nutrients naturally to the body. And this organic farming method relieves some of the stress on our ecosystem.
Soil management refers to the application of methods, practices, and treatments that protect soil and increase soil fertility and soil mechanics. This organic farming method can be used to conserve, amend, and optimize soil health.
In correlation, weed control helps to reduce the adverse effects of noxious weeds on farming crops. Research states that “potential yield reductions caused by uncontrolled weeds are estimated at 45% to 95% depending on the crop, ecological and climatic conditions.”
Some benefits of soil and weed management are:
Mixed farming is a method of organic farming wherein crops and livestock are grown together. It is very popular in India and most of Asia. Initially meant for domestic consumption, mixed farming has now reached commercial standards.
An ideal mixed farm may grow cereal crops alongside cattle and poultry for eggs, milk, or meat. Using organic fertilizers and animal feed ensures the products from the mixed farm are healthy and devoid of artificial hormones.
Organic farming not only conserves the environment but also offers you healthy food choices. In an era full of adulterations and sub-standard food supplies, these organic farming methods assure that consumers get access to pure and natural food while maintaining the ecosystem’s balance at the same time.
Try 24 Mantra Organic’s range of products and savour the taste of organic goodness.
Four Guiding Principles of Organic Farming