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- Prelims – Agriculture
- Mains – GS 3 (Economy and Environment)
Introduction: Considering the genetic altering impact on the human body and biodiversity loss, reduction in pesticide usage i.e., chemical farming should have become an Indian government’s priority long ago.
With reference to Indian agriculture, we will discuss organic farming for sustainable and stable development over chemical farming in detail:
What is organic Farming?
- As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic farming is a system which largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) and relies upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, organic waste, and biological system of nutrient mobilization.
- Organic farming system in India is not new and is being followed from ancient times.
- Currently India ranks 33rd in terms of total land under organic cultivation and 88th in terms of the ratio of agricultural land under organic crops to total farming area.
What are the principles adopted in Organic Farming in India?
- Organic agriculture grows and develops with these principles. These can contribute to improving organic agriculture for the world.
- There are four principles of organic farming are as follow:-
- Principles of Health – The health of the ecosystem, people, and communities.
- The Principles of Ecology – The right balance between ecosystem and environment or nature.
- Principles of Fairness – Good human relationships and quality of life.
- Principles of Care – The considerations about the environment and environment of the future.
Need of encouraging the use of organic farming in India:
- Unsustainable conventional agriculture: The ill effects of the conventional farming system are felt in India in terms of the unsustainability of agricultural production, environmental degradation, health and sanitation problems, etc. Organic agriculture is needed as an alternative method to the modern system.
- Agricultural productivity: The fertilizer and pesticide consumption has increased manifold but this trend has not been reflected in the crop productivity to that extent during green revolution.
- Organic farming has the potential of increased productivity in the long term due to better soil conditions and ecosystems.
- Rising population: With the increase in population there is need to increase agriculture production further in sustainable manner. The scientists have realized that the ‘Green Revolution’ with high input use has reached its peak and is now diminishing returns. Thus, a sustainable organic alternative is needed.
- Employment Opportunities: According to many studies, organic farming requires more labour input than the conventional farming system. India which has a very large amount of labour unemployment and underemployment can generate agricultural jobs through organic farming in rural areas.
- Healthy food: Several indirect benefits from organic farming are available to both the farmers and consumers.
- While the consumers get healthy foods with better taste and nutritive values, the farmers are indirectly benefited from healthy soils and farm production environment.
- Eco-tourism: Eco-tourism is increasingly becoming popular and organic farms have turned into such favourite spots in many countries like Italy.
- Organic farming adds to the beauty of the fields and provides protection to the ecosystem, flora, fauna with increased biodiversity and the resulting benefits to all human and living beings.
Challenges in Organic Farming in India:
Shortage of Biomass: experts are not sure whether all the nutrients with the required quantities can be made available by the organic materials. Even if this problem can be surmounted, they are of the view that the available organic matter is not simply enough to meet the requirements
Disparity of Supply and Demand: Non-perishable grains can be grown anywhere and transported to any location but this is not the case with fruits and vegetables.
Time: organic farming requires greater interaction between a farmer and his crop for observation, timely intervention and weed control for instance.
High MRP: It is almost obvious that due to the extreme care taken to go along with organic farming, the results would be kept at a high price.
Lack of special infrastructure: Most large organic farms still operate in an industrialized agriculture style, including industrial transportation of the food from field to plate. Unfortunately, this involves the adoption of the same environmentally harmful practices as those of factory farms which are however hidden under the cover of being organic
Important Government Initiatives/Schemes:
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana: promotes cluster based organic farming with PGS (Participatory Guarantee System) certification. Cluster formation, training, certification and marketing are supported under the scheme.
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana: Assistance for promotion of organic farming on different components are also available with the approval of State Level Sanctioning Committee
One District – One Product: The programme aims to encourage more visibility and sale of indigenous and specialized products/crafts of Uttar Pradesh, generating employment at the district level.
National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm: Financial assistance is being provided for different components including bio-fertilizers, supply of Rhizobium culture/Phosphate Solubilising Bacteria (PSB)/Zinc Solubilising Bacteria (ZSB)/ Azotobacter/Mycorrhiza and vermin-compost.
The Organic Farming Action Programme: The objective is to promote and significantly develop organic farming by means of priority measures
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) is the food regulator in the country and is also responsible for regulating organic food in the domestic market and imports.
Participatory Guarantee System (PGS): PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.
- PGS Green is given to chemical free produce under transition to ‘organic’ which takes 3 years. It is mainly for domestic purpose.
National Program for Organic Production (NPOP): NPOP grants organic farming certification through a process of third-party certification for export purposes.
Unsustainable agricultural practices have proved to be harmful for land, soil and farmers in general. A switch to organic farming can not only help to achieve sustainable agricultural production but would help farmers with rise in income and production.
An emphasis should be given to organic farming. Sikkim is being such a state to recognise it early and becoming a 100% organic state. Other states should work for the same.
Source: Indian Express