Article by – Shishir Tripathi
Intern at Hariyali Foundation
In collaboration with
In the present times with new inventions in the field of chemicals and agriculture various fertilizers have been invented and are sold to the farmers to be used in farms. Farmers use those fertilizers and get higher yields in the starting one or two years but after some years the fertility of the soil starts falling. At the end, the farmland needs more and more fertilizers and failing to provide fertilizers in high amount to the soil, the fields are left uncultivated and hence the lands turns barren.
But wait!, in this world of new scientific inventions, some people have found a new technique which will help the soil regain its lost fertility and stay fertile for some more years. Yes, the technique is Organic Farming. Though the name sounds somewhat scientific, in actual it is scientific but will not at all harm the soil but will maintain its fertility for many years.
Organic farming is an integrated farming system that strives for sustainability, the enhancement of soil fertility and biological diversity while prohibiting synthetic pesticides and antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers genetically modified organisms and other unnatural methods of growth.
When talking about fields or farms, growing different cops on the same farm at the same time will help the soil to have a balance of nutrients otherwise it happens that certain crops consume more nutrients from the soil and there are lesser nutrients for the crop grown in the other season. This method of farming different crops is known as polyculture. Planting a variety of vegetable crops supports a wider range of beneficial insects, soil microorganisms, and other factors that add up to overall farm health. Crop diversity helps environments thrive and protects species from going extinct.
Secondly, the organic farming is concerned with management o soil. The soil loses nutrients each time a crop is grown on it, so for regaining those nutrients, compost, vermicompost and green manure can be used. These are environment friendly techniques having good impact on the soil for years. Also other techniques like crop rotation, crop covering, reduced tillage; intercropping and other similar techniques are needed to be followed for increasing the productivity of soil. Also crop residues can be ploughed once again with soil and will work as manure.
Thirdly, weed management on the fields is equally important. Weeds are those unwanted plants that consume nutrients from the soil and affect the growth of the crops. Removal of weeds from the fields is important so that the crop grown can grow in the soil without any hindrance in the process of consuming nutrients by unwanted plants of the other types. Weeds can be removed by introducing animals who do not consume the crop grown and just consume the weeds. Techniques like Mulching, flame weeding, thermal weeding, mowing and cutting, etc could be used for removal of weeds from the fields.
There are different factors other than weeds that affect the natural crop growth on farms like nematodes, fungi, bacteria, rodents, pests, etc. there are certain methods to remove such factors from the soil like introduction of beneficial insects for the soil against the harmful insects, using insect traps for capturing rodents, introducing good microorganisms for the soil, rotation of crops every season or using natural insecticides and herbicides.
Introduction of livestock onto the fields and providing them natural conditions to feed there and coming back again to their shelters in the evening. This nothing new but an old technique that was used by people in the past times as people had other work to do, they used to drop the cattle at the fields and go for other work. Also, before leaving the fields entirely for the cattle it must be ensured that whatever the cattle is eating it should be organic in nature, nothing else otherwise that will harm their health and overgrazing is also not done by the cattle.
And lastly composting is to be done by the farmers so that the crop gets its nutrients from time to time. Vegetable wastes, unwanted weeds removed from the fields and other dried leaves and the crop residuals are needed to be buried down in a pit and earthworms and red worms are introduced to decay it and these residual materials along with worms is covered by soil. The compost gets ready after three or four months and is very beneficial to the soil. Even some farmers call it as ‘Black Gold’.
In such way organic farming is done by the farmers along with keeping the livestock at the farms and exposing the fields entirely to the natural techniques that are important for the crop growth and helpful in maintaining the soil fertility. The crops, vegetable and the other products are really nutritious for human health. Therefore, people prefer Organic foods these days and the farmers too can get good amount for their produce.
All in all organic farming is really productive technique for the crops and the farms, a way of earning good income to the farmers and the only way for the consumers get naturally produced and nutritious foods.