Free 770 words essay on Organic Farming – Importance, Facts, Impacts, Benefits for school and college students.
Organic farming is an ancient method of growing food on the farm which predominantly seeks to ensure that the soil is kept healthy and chemical free. The soil is nourished with biofertilizers namely beneficial microbes and efficient use of organic wastes. In case of organic farming, nutrients are released to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco-friendly manner. This procedure largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides hormones, feed additives, etc. The soil is maintained through natural biological processes such as crop rotation, crop residues, animal manures, mineral grade rock additives, nutrient mobilization and plant protection. The Food and Agriculture Organization contends that “Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, agronomic, biological, and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfill any specific function within the system”.
There are innumerable benefits of organic farming, first among them being sustainability. Organic farming employs soil binding techniques through crop-rotations, inter-cropping, symbiotic associations, use of cover crops, and minimum tillage. It improves soil formation, enhances nutrients, increases retentive abilities for minerals, and compensates for no use of mineral fertilizers. In fact, these techniques help prevent soil erosion as well. Agriculture often becomes a source of water pollution due to washing away of chemical and synthetic fertilizers which ends up in water bodies. Nevertheless, in case of organic farming, they are replaced by organic fertilizers such as compost, animal manure, and green manure. It also helps enhance soil structure and water infiltration. Such greater use of biodiversity reduces the risk of groundwater pollution and has restorative capabilities. Furthermore, a decrease of agrochemical products contributes to mitigation of greenhouse effect and global warming. The management practices of organic farming increase the return of carbon to the soil raises productivity and helps carbon sequestration more successful through storage. Organic farmers are called as custodians of biodiversity. The perpetual use of under-utilized species diminishes the erosion of agro-biodiversity thereby creating a healthier gene pool.
An organic label before a food is an assurance that genetically modified organisms have not been used for its production. Among ecological services like soil stabilization, carbon sequestration, nutrients cycle, etc., organic farming practices reduce natural resource degradation. Some of the techniques used prominently in organic farming are inter-cropping, rotation of crops, double-digging, mulching, integration of crops, and livestock.
Several consumers prefer organic food over non-organic ones and this has created a whole new market for the export of the same. As an instance, some successful exports are accomplished such as tropical fruit to the European baby food industry, Zimbabwean herbs to South Africa, six African nations export cotton to the European Community. Organic foods are more expensive and profitable, however, entering this lucrative market is not easy. The organic food supply is limited as compared to its demand. The production costs are higher and are followed by mandatory segregation from conventional food for processing and transportation. Their marketing and distribution chains are not elaborate or efficient.
Organic farming demands greater labor input than conventional farms, and hence benefits underemployed labor in rural communities. The primary agenda of organic farming is soil and water conservation, ensuring sustainability. It helps combat soil erosion, compaction, salinization, and other forms of degradation. Organic methods help generate a vigorous population of soil-microorganisms. Developed countries such as Germany and France are even subsidizing their organic farmers as a solution to water pollution problems. Since they rely on natural pest controls such as plants with pest control properties, helps improve the health of the family. As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization estimates that use of toxic substances in farming is responsible for the death of three million people annually. Organic farmers make the maximum use of the recyclable fertility in on-farm crop residues either directly as compost and mulch or through livestock as farmyard manure. Moreover, integrating livestock into the system adds income through organic meat, eggs, and dairy products, as well as draught animal power.
On one hand where the burden of the population requires immediate solutions to food security and greater production, on the other there are grave concerns about climate change, depleting natural resources, and unsustainable farming practices. Organic farming if employed on a large-scale can offer huge benefits but that would require public-private partnership, technical assistance, research and development and direct assistance. Greater harmony in organic standards would then naturally extend to human lives.