A decades-old debate is always going on talking about organic farming versus organic farming. In this age of modernization where chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides have dominated agricultural practices there is still an ongoing debate on the fact that we need to shift towards organic farming as a means of agriculture to sustain our livelihood. Organic farming is viewed as a form of sustainable agriculture which will meet the needs of the present without harming the future scenario. But first of all, we must know what is organic farming and inorganic farming in terms of every dimension to really come to a decision about which is better and which should be adopted.
The term organic refers to something natural. It is a practice of agriculture which involves usage of natural substances to carry out agriculture. Even though organic farming is said to be a new concept but before the advent of the green revolution there was not much use of chemicals and fertilizers and hence previous agriculture practices were organic. Organic farming involves the usage of fertilizers and pesticides of natural origin such as compost, farmyard manure, neem seed extract, etc. Organic farming generally follows 4 principles.
- Health- organic agriculture mainly focuses on the health of soil, plant, animal and humans. Organic farming focuses on health as a healthy soil produces healthy crops and in turn, these crops will benefit humans and animals. Thus, organic farming gives food which is healthy and nutritious by avoiding the usage of fertilizers, pesticides and additives.
- Care- care must be given to the plant as well as to the environment. We must not focus just on maximizing profit but also should look after the needs of soil as well.
- Fairness- organic agriculture is fair towards the environment. It does not focus on such practices that benefit humans but harm the environment. Organic farming aims to achieve sustainability in all respects.
- Ecological Balance- organic farming maintains a balance between the ecological systems which includes recycling of the farm waste without polluting the environment. It also does not kill all the pests and hence does not disturb the ecological system instead it maintains them at a level which does not harm their produce.
- Does not pollute the environment.
- Yields quality produce which generates more income.
- Maintains ecological balance.
- Low cost of inputs.
- Effective management of farm waste.
- Effective utilization of available resources.
- More time is required for conversion into organic.
- Amount of production is less during the initial period.
- Choice of inputs is restricted and requires time to make them on-farm itself.
- Organic produce has a large export market so transportation can be a constraint.
It is a form of conventional farming which involves usage of pesticides fertilizers of chemical origin. This form of farming has been in practice since the advent of the green revolution in India. High Technology involving hybrid and genetically modified seeds along with chemicals for nutrition and pest management are used. This form of farming yields more produce but the only constraint is that it generates more pollution due to the chemicals. The various chemicals used in inorganic farming remain in the environment for a very long period of time. The following are its pros and cons.
- Effective management of pests with specific target pesticides.
- Fertilizers with various nutritional composition can be used to correct nutritional deficiencies in plants.
- Easy availability of chemicals.
- Genetically modified crops have more advantage over conventional crops in terms of their nutritional content and disease resistance.
- It is a less cumbersome process.
- It pollutes the environment because of the chemical residue.
- The chemicals are harmful to human beings as well as animal life.
- The cost of inputs is high due to industrial manufacture.
- The use of hybrid and chemical fertilizers requires the use of irrigation and thus utilizes more water.