What is organic farming.?The man has always been toiling with soil to grow the food he needs for several thousands of years. Crop growing which started as small cultivations later became vast schemes covering thousands of acres. All these were thanks to the advancements in modern agricultural techniques, equipment, and most prominently, chemical fertilizers. It took some time for us to truly comprehend the damage including a number of health problems caused by the consumption of crops grown using hazardous chemicals. But, gladly we did eventually! Now, we are left with no other choice, but to find some better alternative. As a result, the concept of organic farming has become a hot topic in the world of agriculture.
The whole concept of organic farming is woven around the fact that the soil, plants, animals, and human beings are interconnected and should be considered as parts of a single functional unit. Each one of those components relies on and affected by oneanother. Organic farming aims to create an agricultural framework which is environmentally feasible and economically productive at the same time.
Organic farming can be characterized by several essential features.
- It involves utilizing local resources for optimal productivity.
- It guarantees the fundamental biological functions of soil-water-nutrient-humus-continuum.
- The diversity of flora and fauna of the specific ecosystem is maintained.
- The nutrient cycle of the farm is preserved.
- It achieves stability through diversity.
- It manifests a maximum input-output ratio.
Organic farming does not mean following the golden old ways of farming without any alterations. In fact, it involves incorporating scientific knowledge and modern techniques into crafting brand new methods of cultivation in the most environmentally friendly ways possible. It targets on facilitating natural ecological processes while ensuring and reinforcing the biodiversity of the farm eco-system to an optimum level.As a result, organic farming is carried out based on a number of agro-ecological principles.
Principles of organic farming
The principles of organic farming include both general and practical aspects.
General principles include
- Conserving soil, water, and biodiversity as a part of the maintenance and improvement of the farm ecosystem
- Preventing pollution
- Avoiding exploitation of natural resources
- Preserving indigenous knowledge and drawing examples from traditional farming techniques
- Avoiding non-renewable energy sources as much as possible
- Focusing on producing high-quality products in an efficient manner
- Decentralization of procedures
Practical principles include
- Conserving soil
- Ensuring and maintaining the quality of soil and improving its fertility
- Pest control in biological ways
- Avoiding agrochemicals and other artificial fertilizers
- Refraining from genetic engineering
- Making use of farm manures and crop residues
- Ensuring biodiversity
- Utilizing water resources carefully
Building good soil structure
The soil is considered as a living entity in the concept of organic farming. Its proper maintenance and sustainability are essential for maximum productivity. Thus, everything from the soil environment, soil structure to the soil cover is extremely vital. The soil is the food for the crops. Feeding the soil is an indirect way of feeding the plants. In addition, its inhabitants like countless microorganisms and other organisms play an important role in keeping it fertile and well-balanced. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to nurture the soil and protect it no matter what. Utilizing compost and animal manures, following crop rotation, mulching on the soil surface, and using green manures and legumes are excellent ways to preserve the soil structure and improve its fertility.
Pest and weed control
Controlling pests and weeds without all the strong chemical pesticides and weedicides can be a daunting task for anyone doing organic farming if they don’t know better alternatives to overcome the problem. Organic farmers follow a number of techniques to keep these troublesome pests and weed populations under control.
- Selecting crops most suitable for a specific environment
- Using crops resistant to pests and weed threats
- Following crop rotation method
- Implementing ways to lure in useful predators that consume pests
- Taking necessary actions to improve genetic diversity
- Adhering to natural pesticides and weedicides
Organic farming requires a little more effort and dedication than other conventional ways of agriculture. But, at the end result is totally worth the hard work. It lets us sustain our lives without interrupting the balance of the natural world andmost importantly, not becoming a burden to the Mother Nature.