Indian consumers are becoming more health conscious and conscious about what they eat. Due to this trend, two types of farming have gained popularity: zero-residue farming and organic farming. Typically, residue-free agricultural approaches involve the use of bio-based bio-fertilizers and biocides to protect and stimulate the growth of seedlings and plants.
Synthetic pesticides are also used to develop the food, which is administered at predefined intervals to ensure that the residue is not present in large amounts, as required by the maximum residue limit (MRL).
Compared to fruits and vegetables grown using alternative approaches, research currently shows that there is no solid evidence that organic produce has better nutritional value. This drawback has been overcome through residue-free farming practices.
Since no toxins are used in the manufacturing process, the fruits and vegetables produced are ideal for those with sensitivities and other dietary restrictions. Their level of nutritional quality is excellent. Despite the benefits, Indian farmers do not openly support residue-free agriculture.
As one study shows, organic farming practices have such low productive capacity that relying on them alone will be insufficient to meet the demands of an ever-growing population. Moreover, organic products are expensive to produce and the profit margin on these products can reach 40% in some cases.
Residue-free processes, on the other hand, are cost effective and do not reduce manufacturing volume. Poly-houses, grafting, bio-fertilizer management and rainwater harvesting are some of the practices currently in use. To combat pesticide contamination in a variety of food products, the Center has developed the All India Network Project on Pesticide Residues (AINP-PR). Many agri-tech companies work with farmers to produce residue-free fruits and vegetables.
Chemical fertilizers and insecticides were widely used in traditional farming practices. These chemicals are not only harmful to consumers, but they also degrade the quality of the environment. For example, they contribute to soil degradation, water contamination and the extinction of aquatic species, among others. Organic farming eliminates this problem, but it comes at a high price.
Chemicals are used sparingly or not at all in residue-free techniques. They have no negative impact on any other part of agriculture. It leaves no unwanted residue, as the name suggests. The FSSAI has published a list of crop pollutants and their permitted levels to instill a culture of food safety in the country.
First published: May 20, 2022, 04:43 IST