New Delhi: We have come a long way since the fundamentals of agriculture, and specifically organic agriculture, is a new development in this space.
What is Organic Farming?
Originally in India, organic farming was defined as the cultivation of crops by natural means without the use of industrially produced chemicals, but this has changed recently. Today, organic farming is characterized by the use of unmodified plant, animal or land inputs in the soil. The use of natural ingredients for organic growth has several levels incorporated in modern times. Crop rotation, green manures and compost, biological pest control and mechanical cultivation are the main techniques used in organic farming.
Organic farming is like caring for a newborn baby. It takes hard work but is definitely worth it. Here are some important points to keep in mind:
Organic farming requires attention
It is a labour-intensive and time-limited activity that has stricter rules than traditional farming. But better yields and healthier soil are guaranteed if all goes well. It is enough to pay close attention to the culture when it comes to immunizing it against diseases and deficiencies. As a baby needs the love of his parents, so does Organic Farming. Although investments in organic cultivation double in terms of labor, money and time, so do the yields!
Don’t rush, take one step at a time
If your land has seen full chemical use over time, it won’t be a good idea to go organic all at once. Systematic planning and integrated management are important for a smooth transition. If you are an obese person planning to lose fat, you cannot change your diet all at once. You have to let your body adapt to the change in mindset, diet, exercise, and circumstances. You have to make your body resistant and stronger to be able to adapt. Likewise, you must start by using organic products in small proportions so that your land can adapt to changes, then depending on factors such as geography, temperature, culture, soil and many others, you need to keep increasing the intensity and proportion for a healthy culture. It is about adapting to the “way of life” of the earth, so a systematic long-term plan will be beneficial.
Organic farming practices must be repeated over and over again for the land to adapt to the process. The cyclical process of creating compost from manure, then using the manure for the farm, and finally using it in the crop ensures that your crop receives all the nutrients it needs to grow. And the process ensures that the culture is suitable for the process.
Make the process foolproof
Even after such hard work and planning, there are chances that unforeseen challenges will arise. But there are steps one can take to avoid the pitfalls and be successful in growing organic crops. These are:
» Minimize the risk of disease or deficiency through constant monitoring and compliance with the rules
» Employ qualified professionals who can guide you step by step
» Embrace community farming because if someone decides to grow organic crops in the neighborhood, it may fail due to water or chemical spillage from neighbors. If a community embraces it as a whole, they can help harvest healthy and prosperous produce together. It also has sub-benefits:
(a) Seeds become cheaper when a community asks for them together.
(b) Organic fertilizers become more affordable and accessible.
(c) Pooling means constant advice as well as more eyes on the cultures, therefore shared work and time.
Another cheat code that one can use to be able to grow a good quality crop is to consider “chemical residue free” farming. By definition, it is not only organic but a mixture of both practices to be able to produce the right harvest. You have the option of using chemicals on your crop, but in a systematic way and with measured quantities such that the final product no longer contains chemical residues. For this, the farmer must understand the crop, the time and the quantity. For example, if a crop takes 150 days to harvest, there should be a 21-week schedule that should be maintained by the farmer who defines the systematic stages of its life cycle. The chemicals must be administered during the 6-8 week period within its maximum residual limit (MRL) so that it is extinguished by the 21st week of harvest. This planning is necessary for modern agriculture and can be used for best results by those planning to implement it.