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Need To Encourage Organic Farming In India
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With a great history of agriculture, India ranks second worldwide in farming output. Even today agriculture is the predominant occupation in most parts of the rural India. In order to enhance the productivity of the crop, many agricultural practices like usage of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, selective breeding, mechanization, etc., have been introduced into farming late back in 20th century itself. But, unfortunately few practices like usage of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides have shown adverse effects on the environment by contaminating the air, water, and soil. Consuming the foods, which are highly exposed to these chemicals, result in severe health problems both for humans and animals.
Owing to this, it is necessary to adapt an appropriate technique which neither harms the environment nor disturbs the wellbeing of the people. Organic agriculture in one such type of farming that suits well for our requirements.
What is organic farming?
Organic farming is the form of agriculture which uses natural techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control and so on to produce food and fiber. These methods not only save the crops from the pests, but also sustain the health of the soil, eco system and health of the people. Though this farming uses fertilizers and pesticides, it strictly says ‘No’ or limits the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock antibiotics, food additives, and genetically modified organisms.
Why should we encourage organic farming in India?
Before going to discuss about its need, let us see some reports which showcase the negative effects of non-organic farming.
• A report from ‘Consumer-Voice’ magazine states that the amount of pesticides used in eatables in India is 750 times more than the European standards.
• Out of the five internationally banned pesticides, four were found to be common in vegetables sold in the Indian markets.
• The Indian Ladies-finger contained a toxic pesticide, up to 15,000 parts per billion (ppb) whereas, a European Ladies-finger has only 20ppb. Similarly, Indian cauliflowers are found to have a pesticide which is 150 times more than the EU standards.
• Another study by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) showed that pesticide residue in grapes, wheat and rice is much higher in Karnataka than the prescribed levels. In fact, many of the vegetables do have these residues much higher than the stipulated levels.
So, after observing all these facts do you really think that we are consuming safe food? The FSSAI, itself has mentioned that residues on the fruits and vegetables may not get washed away easily (through washing), but they stay for much longer time and show serious impact on the health. Thus the need of organic agriculture is essential in India.
Benefits of organic farming
Having understood the downsides of inorganic farming, let us now have look at the benefits of organic farming.
• This technique reduces air, water and soil pollution which is too high in case of inorganic farming. It also helps to conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase the fertility of the soil and also uses less energy.
• Organic farming is also good for some small birds and animals which usually feed on crops, as chemical pesticides can make it harder for them to reproduce and in worst scenarios they can kill them.
• This kind of farming is also good for farmers, since they are less exposed to toxic chemicals.
• Organic farming maintains and replenishes the fertility of the soil.
Organic foods vs. non-organic foods
• When compared to the non-organic foods, organic foods contain fewer residues of the pesticides and other insecticides and thus reduce health risks.
• Organic food is good for babies, children and pregnant women.
• Organic foods are grown on well-balanced soils and hence the foods taste great.
• These foods are often fresh as they don’t contain preservatives that make them last longer.
• Organically raised animals will not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, and are not fed with animal byproducts.
When compared to the last generation of Indians, the present generation is much more health conscious. Change in the food habits, giving more importance to healthy foods, and many other positive factors are increasing the demand for these foods. Hence, there is a need to encourage organic farming for better health and chemical free environment.
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