What is Organic Farming ?
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 nano material.) for reasons including sustainability, openness, independence, health, and safety.
“Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”
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 (bio fertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an Eco-friendly pollution free environment.
As per the definition of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study team on organic farming “organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection”.
According to the proposed Codex definition, “organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, agronomic, biological, and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfill any specific function within the system.”
The International Federation for Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), established in the early 1970s, represents over 600 members and associate institutions in over 100 countries. IFOAM (1996) defines the “organic” term as referring to the particular farming system described in its Basic Standards. The “Principle Aims of Organic Agriculture and Processing” are based on the following equally important principles and ideas:
• to produce food of high nutritional quality in sufficient quantity;
• to interact in a constructive and life enhancing way with all natural systems and cycles;
• to encourage and enhance biological cycles within the farming system, involving micro-organisms, soil flora and fauna, plants and animals;
• to maintain and increase long-term fertility of soils;
• to promote the healthy use and proper care of water, water resources and all life therein;
• to help in the conservation of soil and water;
• to use, as far as is possible, renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems;
• to work, as far as possible, within a closed system with regard to organic matter and nutrient elements;
• to work, as far as possible, with materials and substances which can be reused or recycled, either on the farm or elsewhere;
• to give all livestock conditions of life which allow them to perform the basic aspects of their innate behavior;
• to minimize all forms of pollution that may result from agricultural practices;
• to maintain the genetic diversity of the agricultural system and its surroundings, including the protection of plant and wildlife habitats;
• to allow everyone involved in organic production and processing a quality of life conforming to the UN Human Rights Charter, to cover their basic needs and obtain an adequate return and satisfaction from their work, including a safe working environment;
• to consider the wider social and ecological impact of the farming system;
• to produce non-food products from renewable resources, which are fully biodegradable;
• to encourage organic agriculture associations to function along democratic lines and the principle of division of powers;
• to progress towards an entire organic production chain, which is both socially just and ecologically responsible.