Sunday, 19 January 2014
ORGANIC FARMING: NEED OF THE HOUR
Organic farming has been country’s oldest agricultural tradition. Organic farming assures not only high quality cultivation yield, but also a farming in which human health, environmental protection and productive health of the soil are as important as agricultural production. Recently with the excessive use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides in agriculture, farm products are getting polluted and causing number of fatal diseases to human beings. Besides degrading soil properties and polluting groundwater these chemicals are disturbing the delicate balance of our eco-system.
Organic farming is slowly getting momentum in our country but it is confined to some big farmhouses or rich farmers near urban settlements. The concept is almost unheard in the rural areas in general and SC/ST and other weaker sections dominated areas in particular. Organic farming is a key factor to sustain the fertility of the soil. Use of organic fertilizer/manure is very beneficial to dry climatic conditions as water retention is almost thrice when organic fertilizers are used. The use of organic fertilizers has multiple advantages like providing essential macro and micronutrients to crops thus promoting activities of microorganisms in the soil, improving its water retention capacity and texture of aeration of root systems etc. The concept of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for sustainable development has emerged with the increasing realization of the importance of sustainable agriculture.
We should focus on an integrated approach of organic farming, which will include field training of the major components like making compost, vermi-compost, Bio-pesticides and also value added products of organic farm produces.
Composting and vermi-composting are simple techniques of biotechnology for converting organic waste into nutrient rich manure. For several centuries, micro-organisms have been used for degrading and recycling organic waste. The organic wastes are collected in pits, covered with soil paste to provide anaerobic conditions, which helps in rapid degradation of the waste. Use of certain variety of earth-worms in composting is a good technique and with little training, people can easily use it and earn money. The microorganisms commonly encountered in the composting process are Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Arthrobacter, Nitrosomonas, Nitrobacter, Cytophage, Zoogloea and some common protozoa like Vorticella, Philodina, Trachelophyllum and Aspidisca.
Bio-pesticides are another component of organic farming. Although, there are number of agents of different origin to be used as pesticides, Botanicals (agents from plants) are easy to prepare and use. Insecticidal activity of Annona squamosa, Derris tephrosia, Acorus calamum, Melia azedarach, Walsuria trifoliate, Dysoxylum ficiforma, D. balamaricum, Azadirachta indica and Vitex negundu was established by various research laboratories. These can be extracted from various plant materials through simple techniques. Natural insecticides of plant origin are effective against a wide range of insects, many of which cannot be successfully controlled by synthetic insecticides. Natural components are relatively non-hazardous to human beings. Plant insecticides generally exert their effect by interfering with the physiology of insects, affecting their nervous system, hampering their normal development and acting as antifeedents.
SED has been promoting this concept among the farmers of Rajasthan through training and demonstration at its Gramin Vigyan Kendra (Rural Science Centre), village Digod in Kota District of Rajasthan. We are also creating awareness among general public and school children about the positive impact on not only our health but also on our environment andbio-diversity.