- Organic Farming – is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco friendly pollution free environment.
- It started receiving attention from 2004-05 when National Project on Organic Farming was launched. In 2004-05, area under organic farming was 42,000 hectares. By March 2010 area under farming had increased to 1.08 million hectares. In addition, 3.40 million hectares is wild forest harvest collection area. Thus total area under organic certification process by March, 2010 was 4.48 million hectares.
- The States doing well in organic farming are Madhya Pradesh (4.40lakh hectares), Maharashtra (1.50 lakh hectares) and Orissa (95,000 hectares), having largest area under organic.
- Among crops cotton is the single largest crop accounting for nearly 40 percent of total area followed by rice, pulses, oilseeds and spices. India is the largest organic cotton grower in world, and accounts for 50 percent share of total world organic cotton production.
Need of organic farming
- To stabilize agricultural production and to increase it further in sustainable manner.
- The scientists have realized that the ‘Green Revolution’ with high input use has reached a plateau and is now sustained with diminishing return of falling dividends. Thus, a natural balance needs to be maintained at all cost for existence of life and property.
- To save expenditure on fertilizers and pesticides.
- Failure of hybrid varieties in pest resistance. Bollworm is developing resistance to Bt cotton.
- Indian soils show deficiency of micro nutrients like boron, zinc, copper and iron in most parts of the country, which limits crop yields and productivity.
- The micronutrient deficiency can be overcome if there is expansion in the use of organic fertilizer.
- With 67 per cent of Indian soil characterized by low organic carbon, there is great scope for enhancing the use of organic fertilizers.
The key characteristics of organic farming include:
- Protecting the long term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention.
- Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble nutrient sources which are made available to the plant by the action of soil micro-organisms.
- Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as effective recycling of organic materials including crop residues and livestock manures.
- Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties and limited (preferably minimal) biological and chemical intervention.
- The extensive management of livestock, paying full regard to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioral needs and animal welfare issues with respect to nutrition, housing, health, breeding and rearing.
- Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider environment and the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats.
- Increases soil fertility, high value crops leading to sustainable development.
- Preserves indigenous species.
- Reduces subsidy burden on Governments and inherent corruption involved in it.
- Thwarts the desertification of arable land.
- Revitalizes ground water level.
- Reduces risk to the food chain.
- Stops the serious health hazards caused due to chemical fertilizers & pesticides.
- It also promotes tourism as it has already been started in north-east where resorts are marketing themselves as completely organic where tourists can pluck, cook and relish fresh organic food from their kitchen gardens.
- Farmers can reap huge income as there is demand for organic food.
- To feed the increasing population, organic farming should be implemented on large scale. However, with the increasing urbanization and disappearance of agricultural land this may not be completely implemented in whole state like Sikkim.
- Requires more human supervision.
- Bacterial contamination of produce due to untreated organic manure may cause diseases.
Promotion of Organic Farming
- Organic farming is being promoted under –
- National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) – assistance to input production (large compost plants and bio-fertilizers), Quality control of organic inputs, Human resource development through trainings, PGS facilitation, Biological soil health assessment and awareness creation.
- National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY): offers financial assistance to States for adoption and certification of vermin-compost production.
- Recent budgetary allocations on PMFBY (Rs.5500 crores) and enhanced irrigation facilities (PMKSY)also encourages farmers to go for organic farming.
- Government is promoting bio-fertilizers through various schemes of National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)/Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) and Indian Council of Agricultural Sciences (ICAR).
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana
- The Government is implementing Soil Health Management under National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). Soil Health Management (SHM) is one of the components under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). SHM aims at promoting Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) through judicious use of chemical fertilizers including secondary and micro nutrients in conjunction with organic manures and biofertilizers for improving soil health and its productivity; upgradation of skill and knowledge of soil testing laboratory staff, extension staff and farmers through training and demonstrations
- Soil Health Card will provide information to farmers on soil nutrient status of their soil and recommends appropriate dosage of nutrient to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility. Soil health card will be issued every 3 years for all land holdings in the country. Under this scheme, financial assistance is given to State Governments for training of farmers on application of further on soil test basis, amounting to Rs. 24000/- per training.
- National Centre of Organic Farming, Ghaziabad is organizing the training programmes for farmers in Saansad Adarsh Grams (SAGs) from 2015-16.
- For quality assurance country has internationally acclaimed certification process in place for export, import and domestic markets. Foreign Trade Development and Regulation Act for exports and Agriculture Produce Grading, Marketing and Certification Act for domestic.
States Adopting Organic Farming
- States like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim have been promoting organic farming. 9 states have drafted organic farming policies. Out of these, four States viz; Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Sikkim and Mizoram have declared their intention to go 100 percent organic.
- Sikkim has achieved its target i.e., 100% organic state in 2015.
- Uttarakhand has declared several districts organic, which means the farmers must undertake only organic farming.
Steps taken by government:
- Government has removed all quantitative ceilings on individual organic products and allowed unrestricted exports of all organic and organic processed products.
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana