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Agricluture
  
  
:: Organic Agriculture ::
Indigenous or traditional agriculture was the rule in ancient India. Till today many tribal Adivasi farmers are practicing the same in the district. Indigenous agriculture is recognized in the name of Organic Farming in the modern era. Such new era of thinking on organic farms after having experienced, each in a different way, the bad effects of conventional farming. This new thinking has taken the form of ‘Organic Movement’.



Organic Agriculture is one of the oldest practice in Agricultral Practice, Organic farming is a form of agriculture which avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, plant growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. As far as possible, organic farmers rely on crop rotation, crop residues, animal manures and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and tilth to supply plant nutrients, and to control weeds, insects and other pests.

Foods under Organic farming are grown with a commitment to respect biological and ecological processes. It is a production system, that is ecologically sustainable, economically viable and socially just, in which the producer plays a central role. Hence organic farming comprises of a series of cultural practices which favour bio-diversity, biological control of pests and diseases through the development of natural enemies, and utilization of natural enemies, and utilization of natural renewable resources in the most balanced and sensitive way to protect the environment. In order to make the organic production distinctly identifiable from conventional methods and make it viable and respectable, the organic farming is guided by a set of rules and regulations.

Approximately 31 million hectares (75 million acres) worldwide are now grown organically.



Before the 19th century, most food in the world was organically produced using organic manure and human and animal power (horses in the US and oxen in Asia). The agricultural revolution began in England in the early 19th century, when Jethro Tull invented a horse-drawn hoe and a seed drill. By middle of the 19th century, manufacture of superphosphate fertilizer was started in England. The first tractor with an internal combustion engine was developed in the US in 1910. Near about the same period, the German chemist Fritz Haber developed the process of ammonia synthesis, which led to the manufacture of nitrogen fertilizer in Europe and the US. Fertilizer N was needed in large amounts to benefit from the discovery of high-yielding hybrid corn (maize). Insecticidal property of DDT was discovered in 1939 by P. Muller in Switzerland and was followed by the discovery of BHC in France and UK. Nitrophenols were the first group of selective herbicides developed in 1933 and were followed by the development of 2,4-D and MCPA in 1940s. Thus, by the middle of the 20th century, most of the components of modern agriculture, i.e. tractors and associated farm machines, fertilizer and agrochemicals were in use on agricultural farms in the developed world.

Modern agriculture has been of great help in alleviating hunger from the world, because the world population more than doubled itself during the last half of the 20th century; it increased from 2.5 billion in AD 1950 to 6 billion in 2000. It is predicted that the world population will again double itself by the end of the 21st century and will touch the 12 billion mark. Most of this increase in population has been, and will be, in the developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America. Modern agriculture with all its components has thus to stay to ward off hunger from developing countries. India’s own achievements in agricultural production after the Green Revolution in the mid-1960s, has been exemplary and mainly due to increased use of the components of modern agriculture, namely fertilizer, pesticides and farm machinery. Food-grain production in India more than doubled itself during the post-Green Revolution period.



The Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka practised and promoted natural farming throughout the world and has followers in India also. His book One-Straw Revolution has been widely acclaimed. The formation of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in 1972, gave an international framework for the discussion and codification of internationally recognized principles of organic farming. A large number of terms are used as an alternative to organic farming. These are: Biological, Ecological, Bio-Dynamic, Organic– Biological and Natural Agriculture. Organic farming requires certification by accredited agencies in India, like IFOAM, Tea Board, Coffee Board, Spices Board, Coconut Development Board and Directorate of Cashew and Cocoa. Agencies promoting organic farming in India are: National Steering Committee, Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India and Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA). APEDA is the coordinating agency for organic food production and export under the brand name ‘India Organic’.

The steps involved in certification are:

Registration of the producers and processing industries, provision of basic information on the crop and farm, inspection and verification of the field and processing unit, inspection of production methods and practices by the inspector of the certifying agency. A transition period of 2–3 years is required during which no inorganic fertilizer and agrochemicals are used on the farm before which the produce can be marketed. Since crop yields during this transitory period are low, farmers intending to go for organic farming would suffer losses, unless some compensation is made for this. The cost of these products is further increased by the fact that the production in organic farming is generally 20–38% less compared to that using modern agricultural practices . Furthermore, the current standard of organic farming is quite stringent in respect of organic manure used, animal feed/fodder used, minerals or soil amendments used, quality of surface irrigation and underground water and agricultural practices adopted at farms in the neighbourhood. In foreign countries, techniques such as Kirilian photography and microbiological and bio-chemical tests are employed to check how organic foods are produced on the farm. Production of organic food therefore, requires considerable attention.


Principles:

Biodynamic Farming. involves certain principles and practices for healthy soil, production and quality. All the cultural activities are performed as per zodiac principles. This includes nutrient, pest, disease management and sowing/ transplanting at appropriate time (agriculture calendar), crop modeling, through training/pruning and crop allelopathy. There has been a continuous improvement in physical, chemical and biological properties of soil, besides an improvement in production and quality of fruits. Following package of practices have been recommended.

  • Application of organic manures through NADEP/vermi/ biodynamic compost (BD) /microbe mediated compost (MM compost).
  • Use of cakes (neem, karanj, castor, groundnut etc.) as per availability.
  • Green manuring and legumes as inter and cover crops as per the requirement.
  • Mulching after the application of 5 - 20 kg vermi/BD compost, 100g CPP and release of earthworms in basin.
  • Regular use of cow pat pit (CPP) and cow horn manure (BD-500) to refurbish biological properties of soil.
  • Need based use of liquid manures prepared from cowdung; cow urine, leguminous leaves or vermiwash to promote growth and fruiting.
  • Spraying of biodynamic pesticides prepared through fermentation of cowdung, cow urine, neem, karanj, caliotropis, castor or neem leaves.
  • Two sprays of cow horn silica (BD-501) at flowering and fruit development stages.
  • Biodynamic tree paste/cowdung paste to control gummosis and dieback.

  
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