The concept of organic farming was developed in the early 1900’s by Sir Albert Howard, F.H. King and Rudolf Steiner. Organic farming is an agricultural system which was originated early in the 20th century in reaction to rapidly changing farming practices. In context of Nepal, Organic farming appeared as one of the priority sectors, since the 10th five year plan (2059/60-2063/64). Organic farming is a production system which evades or largely excludes the use of synthetically produced inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, etc. placing maximum reliance on crop rotation, crop residue, animals manure, legumes, green manure with non-chemical methods for insects, weeds and pest management.
Organic farming rely instead on natural farming methods and modern scientific ecological knowledge in order to maximize the long term health and productivity of the ecosystem, enhance the quality of products and protect the environment. Proponents of organic methods believe that it is a more sustainable and less damaging approach to agriculture. Varieties of bacteria and fungi breakdown the chemicals, plant matter and animal’s waste into productive soil nutrients. They produce benefits of healthier yields and more productive soil for future crops. Organic farmers integrate cultural, biological, mechanical, physical and chemical tactics to manage weeds without synthetic herbicides. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationship and a good quality of life for all involved. In addition, environmental pollution and soil erosion due to over use of chemicals fertilizer and pesticides are reduced.
Some basic principles for organic farming established by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in September,2005 which aims to inspire the organic movement and to the wider world. The principles includes: Principle of health (i.e., sustain and enhance health of people, organisms and overall ecosystem), Principle of Ecology (i.e., to achieve the ecological balance), Principle of fairness (i.e., to establish a fair relation within all levels), Principle of care (i.e., managed in a precautionary and responsible manner).
Benefits of organic farming
Organic farming offers multi benefits which includes sound environment, improve soil fertility and water quality and prevention of soil erosion.
- Organic farming has ability to maintain or enhance social wellbeing of communities and it helps in creation of job and opportunity in rural community.
- Controlled pesticides help to reduce run-off of agriculture chemicals and reduce the residues in the environment.
- Farmers can reduce their production costs because they do not need to buy costly chemicals and fertilizers.
- Healthier farm workers and healthy produce.
- In the long term, organic farms saves energy and protects the environment.
- Fewer chemical residues in food with high nutrients and low nitrate levels in organic food
- More animals and plants can live in the same place in a natural way maintaining biodiversity. Pollution of ground water is controlled. Green manure crops and organic matter management help to control soil erosion and give better quality produce than the conventional farming system.
- Organic foods are not only produced by organic methods but are protected from contamination with non-organic products.
Thus, Organic farming or the farming without the use of synthesized chemicals is the essence for today’s generation. If we couldn’t be able to conserve the components of environment and just keep exploiting it, sooner or later we are creating a suffering for our upcoming generations.