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  • By Adesinsa Victoria
  • April 5, 2022
  • 0 Comment

Organic farming is an agricultural system that uses fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal. It emphasizes techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting.

The gradual shift towards organic farming has been mainly because we as consumers have become increasingly concerned about the health impacts of accidentally consuming pesticides and chemical fertilizers. During the 1990s, the USDA first standardized the meaning of the term “organic” — basically, farmers do not use any form of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides to grow their produce.

Organic farming is widely considered a far more sustainable alternative when it comes to food production. The lack of pesticides and a wider variety of plants enhances biodiversity and improves soil quality, and reduces pollution from fertilizer or pesticide run-off.

Conventional farming has been heavily criticized for causing biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and increased water pollution due to the rampant usage of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. However, despite these glaring cons, scientists are concerned that organic farming has far lower yields than conventional farming, requiring more land to meet demand.

For organic farming to be successful, agribusinesses would have to balance the costs involved and its carbon footprint while considering the overall need to meet the high demands for food. “That’s tough because the goal of organic farming in developed countries currently is about meeting the needs of those who can afford the luxury to buy the highest quality food. If the condition of this luxury interferes with the need to feed the entire population, you have the potential for conflicts.

In India, organic farms grow lots of different crops simultaneously. They grow plants that can naturally keep pests away and don’t use robust inputs like sulfur. Instead, the farmers use plants and biodiversity to help regulate their cropping systems. Indian farmers who grow organic crops also make their fertilizers by filling a field with legumes that they grow in rotations. Once the legumes have fully developed, the farmers manually plow them. That results in larger quantities of nitrogen being pumped into the soil instead of only using manure or, even worse, synthetic fertilizers.

Organic farming can boost yields over conventional agriculture in some areas of the developing world because it doesn’t rely on so much water and chemical inputs. These practices also build soil fertility and lead to less pollution. Considering the high costs involved in going 100 percent organic, especially when it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, it might also help to look for organic food that was grown locally. 

Keeping that in mind, there’s no need to feel guilty or under pressure to spend extra for organic produce. Unfortunately, we’re in a situation where agribusinesses focus only on yields, making an alternative form of farming comparatively much more expensive.