Organic Farming

Prospects of Organic Farming in the North-East

The Northeastern region has the potential of contributing 20 lakh hectare of agricultural land towards organic farming, said Indian Council of Agricultural Research (North East) Chairman K M Bujarbaruah.
The average use of chemical fertiliser in the region was 11 kg per hectare, he said.
In fact, Sikkim and Mizoram had already declared to go on organic farming in the next five years, the ICAR Director said.
Talking to reporters here today, Dr Bujarbaruah said out of the 50,000 heactare (excluding Northeast) of agricultural land where organic farming was being carried out, North eastern region has much more potential than that.
When it comes to organic farming, this region has the competitive edge over other regions of the country, he asserted.
In this regard, Dr Bajurbaruah said the ICAR would also soon develop a road map to encourage organic farming in the region soon.
ICAR would tie up with the North Eastern Council (NEC) to carry out an intensive survey to identify areas in the eight states of the region, where organic farming was being carried out, he said.
When asked, Dr Bujarbaruah said the ICAR would encourage farmers in the region to continue to for organic farming to bolster the figure up to 20 lakh hectare.
Presently, ten lakh hectare of agricultural land in the region was carrying out organic farming. When asked on the certifying agency for organic products in the region, Dr Bujarbaruah said ICAR was also trying hard to get accredited as a certifying agency to help market organic products from the Northeast in the national and international markets.

Components of Organic

Major components of organic farming are crop rotation, maintenance and enhancement of soil fertility through biological nitrogen fixation, addition of organic manure and use of soil microorganisms, crop residues, bio-pesticide, biogas slurry, waste etc. Vermiculture has become a major component in biological farming, which is found to be effective in enhancing the soil fertility and producing large numbers of horticultural crops in a sustainable manner.

Organic Crops

Advantages of Organic crops

Organic products are created using natural ingredients that were grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers; haven’t been treated with preservatives, hormones, or medicines; and don’t contain artificial additives. Organic crops have been shown to be more tolerant as well as resistant to insect attack. Organic rice is reported to have thicker cell walls and lower levels of free amino acids than conventional rice. Soil-borne root diseases are generally less severe on organic farms than conventional farms. It has been demonstrated that organically produced foods have lower levels of pesticides and medicinal and hormonal residues and in many cases lower nitrate contents. Quality after storage has been reported to be better in organic produce relative to chemical based produce after comparative tests.

Nutritional inputs for Healthy soil

Animal dung, crop residues, green manure, bio-fertilizers and bio-solids from agro-industries and food processing wastes are some of the potential sources of nutrients of organic farm. Organic manure covers manure made from cattle dung, excreta of other animals, rural and urban composts, other animal wastes, crop residues and green manures. Application of organic manure is the only option to improve the soil organic carbon for sustenance of soil quality and future agricultural productivity. Future of sustainable development of agriculture, next to water, depends on arresting fall in organic matter in soils. Organic farming uses helpful insects to combat pests and natural fertilizers like compost and manure, or crop rotation, to keep vital nutrients in the soil. The benefits of using organic products go far beyond health concerns. Healthy soil contains microbes beneficial to plants and thick earthy hummus that retains water, reducing the need for artificial irrigation and the rate of topsoil erosion. Rural and urban compost improves the water holding capacity of the soil. This is how these wastes are useful in improving the fertility and productivity of soils.