(The Gist of Kurukshetra) STATUS, POTENTIAL AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN ORGANIC FARMING [MAY-2019]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) STATUS, POTENTIAL AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN ORGANIC FARMING
 [MAY-2019]


STATUS, POTENTIAL AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN ORGANIC FARMING

  •  Food scarcity in the sixties had led to the need and initiation of green revolution. However, to augment crop production usage of chemical fertilizers in incremental dose over the years led to thedeterioration of soil character, made the plants fertilizer sensitive and disturbed the pest- predator relationships, which automatically generated the necessity for application of pesticides.
  •  To further add to the dilemma crop productivity has been going downhill from the fertilizers following the 'Law of Diminishing Return', Crop production system has become completely dependent on the external support system, at the same time input-output ratio is going low with time, Thus just after few decades of its incorporation, chemical farming has broken the equilibrium of millennia.

Why Organic Farming?

  •  Hence, enhancement and maintenance of system productivity and resource quality is essential for sustainable agriculture. It is believed that organic farming can solve many of these problems as this system is believed to maintain soil productivity and effectively control pest by enhancing natural processes and cycles in harmony with environment.
  •  Organic farming is defined as a production system which largely excludes or avoids the use of fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, etc. and relies mainly on organic sources to maintain soil health, supply plant nutrients and minimize insects, weeds and other pests. It was felt that organic farming may solve all these problems and has been considered as one of the best options for protecting/sustaining soil health, and is gaining lot of importance in present day agriculture.

Present Status of Organic Farming

  •  India holds a unique position among 172 countries practicing organic agriculture: it has 6,50,000 organic producers, 699 processors, 669 exporters and 7,20,000 hectares under cultivation. But, with merely 0.4 per cent of total agricultural land under organic cultivation, the industry has a long journey ahead.
  •  India produced around 1.35 million MT (2015-16) of certified organic products which includes all varieties of food products. The production is not limited to the edible sector but also produces organic cotton fiber, functional food products etc. As per the latest available cross-country statistics, in the year 2015, India ranked first in terms of the number of organic producers among over 170 countries and ninth in terms of the area under organic agriculture. India ranked 11th in organic product exports in 2015.
  •  India is home to 30 per cent of the total organic producers in the world, but accounts for just 2.59 per cent (1.5 million hectares) of the total organic cultivation area of 57.8 million hectares. However, it has been observed that when it comes to the area under certified organic cultivation, India contributes only 2.59%, i.e., 1.5 million hectares of the total organic cultivation area of 57.8 million hectares. Thus, amongst the regions with the largest areas of organically managed agricultural land, India ranks 9th.
  • Emerging Challenges in Organic Farmingthe same time farmer's participation In problem identification and solving is inadequate, consequently the technology and innovation uptake were also compromised.
  •  Besides this, majority of agro-research does not prioritize/ focus on dissemination of research outcome at farmers' level. There are limitations like availability of practical guidelines, communication gap with small and marginal farmers and lack of comprehensive approach for integration of technological know-how, better marketing options etc. which led to lesser farmers' participation in large scale demonstration. But above all the single most criteria which was responsible for limited progress of sustainable farming practice is lack of comprehensive and economically viable packages which can offer easy adoptability for the farming community.

Conclusion

  •  Organic farming is the pre-requisite for enabling wider adoptability, secured livelihoods and ensuring affordability at the consumer's end. India has a long history of organic farming. At the same  as well as development of plant resilience; but the highlight remains its cost effectiveness and time bound results.

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