Organic Farming in Uttarakhand

Organic foods contain higher levels of antioxidants and less harmful chemicals than conventionally farmed produce.@.Pahadi house. Organic uttarakhand is the state government initiative for ecological governance and economic sustainability plan.

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Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control. Depending on whose definition is used, organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides (which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) if they are considered natural (such as bone meal from animals or pyrethrin from flowers), but it excludes or strictly limits the use of various methods (including synthetic petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides; plant growth regulators such as hormones; antibiotic use in livestock; genetically modified organisms; human sewage sludge; and nanomaterials.) for reasons including sustainability, openness, independence, health, and safety.

Organic farming system in India is not new and is being followed from ancient time. It is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco friendly pollution free environment.

What is Organic farming?

Organic farming works in harmony with nature rather than against it. This involves using techniques to achieve good crop yields without harming the natural environment or the people who live and work in it. The methods and materials that organic farmers use are summarised as follows:

To keep and build good soil structure and fertility:

  • Recycled and composted crop wastes and animal manures
  • The right soil cultivation at the right time
  • Crop rotation
  • Green manures and legumes
  • Mulching on the soil surface

To control pests, diseases and weeds:

  • Careful planning and crop choice
  • The use of resistant crops
  • Good cultivation practice
  • Crop rotation
  • Encouraging useful predators that eat pests
  • Increasing genetic diversity
  • Using natural pesticides

Organic farming also involves:

  • Careful use of water resources
  • Good animal husbandry

A modern approach to farming

Organic farming does not mean going ‘back’ to traditional methods. Many of the farming methods used in the past are still useful today. Organic farming takes the best of these and combines them with modern scientific knowledge.

Organic farmers do not leave their farms to be taken over by nature; they use all the knowledge, techniques and materials available to work with nature. In this way the farmer creates a healthy balance between nature and farming, where crops and animals can grow and thrive.

To be a successful organic farmer, the farmer must not see every insect as a pest, every plant out of place as a weed and the solution to every problem in an artificial chemical spray. The aim is not to eradicate all pests and weeds, but to keep them down to an acceptable level and make the most of the benefits that they may provide.

Combined techniques

On an organic farm, each technique would not normally be used on its own. The farmer would use a range of organic methods at the same time to allow them to work together for the maximum benefit. For example the use of green manures and careful cultivation, together provide better control of weeds than if the techniques were used on their own

Why farm organically?

Organic farming provides long-term benefits to people and the environment. Organic farming aims to:

  • increase long-term soil fertility.
  • control pests and diseases without harming the environment.
  • ensure that water stays clean and safe.
  • use resources which the farmer already has, so the farmer needs less money to buy farm inputs.
  • produce nutritious food, feed for animals and high quality crops to sell at a good price.

Modern, intensive agriculture causes many problems, including the following:

  • Artificial fertilisers and herbicides are easily washed from the soil and pollute rivers, lakes and water courses.
  • The prolonged use of artificial fertilisers results in soils with a low organic matter content which is easily eroded by wind and rain.
  • Dependency on fertilisers. Greater amounts are needed every year to produce the same yields of crops.
  • Artificial pesticides can stay in the soil for a long time and enter the food chain where they build up in the bodies of animals and humans, causing health problems.
  • Artificial chemicals destroy soil micro-organisms resulting in poor soil structure and aeration and decreasing nutrient availability.
  • Pests and diseases become more difficult to control as they become resistant to artificial pesticides. The numbers of natural enemies decrease because of pesticide use and habitat loss.

With the increase in population our compulsion would be not only to stabilize agricultural production but to increase it further in sustainable manner. The scientists have realized that the ‘Green Revolution’ with high input use has reached a plateau and is now sustained with diminishing return of falling dividends. Thus, a natural balance needs to be maintained at all cost for existence of life and property. The obvious choice for that would be more relevant in the present era, when these agrochemicals which are produced from fossil fuel and are not renewable and are diminishing in availability. It may also cost heavily on our foreign exchange in future.