The quality and benefits of organic food obtained through organic farming, its impact on the economy and the environment.
Agriculture is the main subject of a country. Because the citizens of the country will be able to live a healthy Life only if the crop is chemical-free and rich in nutrients. So chemical-free organic farming is desperately needed for any country. But there lies a question that organic farming can keep our desired production just as right as chemical farming? Moreover the supply of plant nutrients also remains questionable.
A plant needs some nutrients to grow. In the case of any tree, 16 such nutrient elements have been identified.When these elements are not found in the soil properly, the growth of plants is hampered. We can divide the 16 elements into two parts –
Macronutrients : The Macronutrients are N, P , K, S, Ca, Mg, Fe, C, H, O
Micronutrients : Micronutrients include Mn, Zn, Cu,Ni, B, Cl, Mo.
Since micronutrients are taken from soil by plants, we only add macronutrients through fertilizer. An appropriate use of synthetic fertilizer we regulate PH so that depletion of micro nutrient or any other macro nutrient makes soil barren. So, we must increase organic farming to make our land fertile.
What is Organic Farming?
Organic agriculture is a production system which sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements).
Generally, organic farming refers to a kind of farming Which prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, and growth hormones instead of providing soil with fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting, Biological pest control, mixed cropping etc.
Organic Farming Technology :
Calculation of cost of production :
How to cultivate safely with organic methods at low cost is the main consideration of organic farming. This is because organic products also have to compete in the market with the product produced from conventional methods . Again, due to the use of less materials, the production is comparatively less. Therefore, before going into organic farm management, one has to calculate the income and expenditure of the farm and find out where the sales opportunities are in the market. Besides, there should be a campaign on why buyers should buy organic vegetables.
Selection of planting materials :
There are some varieties of crops that are required using less ingredients but produce better results, resistant to environmental stress and are less susceptible to pests and diseases. Especially local or indigenous varieties have such characteristics. Such varieties need to be cultivated organically.
Soil treatment :
Soil preparation is an initial step for organic farming. As plants are only grown with the amount of nutrients present in soil, soil must be incorporated with enough nutrients. For this soil can be incorporated with Cow Dung, green manure vermicompost etc. Again there are so many soil borne diseases of plants that may cause harm for crops.
so, soil must be sterilised by solar heat treatment. This method includes ploughing, breaking of soil clods and keeping the soil open for some days to get exposure to sunlight. For heat generation soil can be covered with black polythene sheets.
Poly house or Net house :
Many insects can be controlled without pesticides by building a net house and cultivating vegetables inside it. A net house can be made with net, bamboo etc. Poly house is made where there is foggy and cold weather.
Concern should be made about irrigation water because weed seed or pathogen can come from water sources. So that flood irrigation should not apply. Irrigation can be applied by sprinkler method or manually through a water pot.
Mulching for Organic Farming:
It is necessary where there is a scarcity of water. Mulching elements like water hyacinth, straw etc is the best option for organic mulching.
Crop rotation :
Crop rotation is a practice of growing different crops in the same area of land across their growing season. It reduces the pressure on land for competing same nutrients due to cultivation of one type of crop. It also helps in reducing weeds, insect pest infestation and developing insect pest resistance. We must rotate shallow root crop (eg. rice) after harvesting deep root crop( eg. Maize) and legume crops(eg. soybean, alfalfa,clover etc.) after cereal and grasses(eg. wheat, rice etc.).
Because shallow roots add less biomass which can be fulfilled by deep rooted crops again deep rooted crops take much nutrients than shallow rooted crops. Legume crops add nitrogen in land which is depleted by grass and cereals. So, if we follow crop rotation then the health of soil will not be hampered.
Mixed cropping – A very useful method of organic farming :
Mixed cropping is another method for organic farming. It is a type of agriculture that involves planting two or more plants simultaneously in the same field. Though crops ripen during different seasons, planting more than one saves space and also provides a wealth of environmental benefits including maintaining a balance of input and outgo of soil nutrients; weed, disease, insect pest suppression; resistance to climate extremes (wet, dry, hot, cold).
Insect and pest control :
Chemical fertilizer is restricted in Organic farming. But it is necessary to take steps for controlling insects and pests. For this purpose we can use bio pesticide and bio agents. They don’t have residual effect in crops. some bio fertilizers are –
(1) Rhizobium ;
(2) Azotobacter ;
some bio agents are –
(1) Bracon hebetor ;
(2) Trichoderma ;
Except all of this we can use Mild toxic organic pesticides including neem, soap, garlic, citrus oil, capsaicin, Bacillus popila, Beauveria bassiana, etc. These organic pesticides should be used in phases as there is a risk of developing insect resistance to pesticides.
Weed competes with plants for nutrient uptake. To destroy weeds on land we can’t use chemical pesticides. So that weeding should be done manually.
Organic crops should harvest at proper maturity. Grading should be done after harvesting, rotten and infected crops should be separated and packed separately. The packing material must be sterile. Marketing should be done as soon as possible after collecting crops from the field.
What is Organic food?
Organic food is food produced by following methods and tactics of standard Organic farming. Organic foods are grown with chemical free cultural practice so that it has a less chance of containing any harmful chemical. As organic foods are eco friendly and healthy, demand for organic foods is increasing day by day.
Quality of organic food :
Organic food is at the center of global practice. Research on the topic of ‘Organic Food and Farming, Myth and Reality’ by 36 organizations around the world has shown that this type of food contains a lot of antioxidants which are very useful for the body.
A report by the Science Committee of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom states that antibiotics used in animal and fish foods are causing various microbiological diseases in the human body.
Organic foods are widely perceived as being produced without chemicals, using a natural production process, making it possible to avoid substances harmful to health, and to eat products with a minimum of additives. So, the concept of organic food production is
Less additives chemicals→Naturally produced →Eating healthily→Avoid health problems
Why do you eat Organic food?
To be free from various diseases :
Prolonged use of high doses of antibiotics in animal and fish diets is causing long-term side effects in the human body.
The result is terrible due to the long-term effects of the chemical, the heart, kidney activity and nerves are severely damaged.
Harmful chemicals like formalin, carbide or ajinomoto enter the body causing stomach ache, dry cough, diarrhea, ulcers and multiple lung diseases.
Hydrogen peroxide causes various skin diseases and even deadly cancers in the Trachea, kidneys and stomach.
The number of platelets is decreasing and soon anemia is spreading. Everyone from children to adults is at risk. Fetus in the womb can be born with serious illnesses such as autism.
To avoid adulterated food :
It is difficult to find an alternative to organic food for longevity. However, it is shocking to know the amount of adulterated food being processed or packaged
Ethylene or carbide is being used to ripen fruits.
Fish, meat, milk, vegetables, and fruits are being sprayed with formalin to keep them fresh for a long time.
To brighten the color of biscuits, semai, noodles, bread, leather color is being given in it.
Toxic chalk powder is used freely in flour or sugar.
Chromium and toxic chemical wastes are being used in chicken and fish feed.
Also the quality of chocolate is being ruined by its low quality paint and toxic wax polish.
From mustard to soybean oil, palm oil, animal fat or starch are being mixed with cyanide to maintain the smell and color
Caffeine and sildenafil citrate are used in soft drinks.
Impact on economy :
Though in Bangladesh organic cultivation is not widely practiced, the world wide appeal of organic crop production is increasing day by day. Demand for organic food is increasing among Health conscious people. Organic farming plays an important role in reducing environmental costs and reducing environmental damage. The World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF-Bangladesh) presented this potential aspect of Bangladesh’s land at the 17th World Organic Conference held in Janji, Paldang, South Korea.
When organic fertilizer is used, the production cost of the crop is 50-60 percent less than that of chemical fertilizer Organic foods and vegetables may be a little expensive because of low production.According to the presentation of WWOOF, due to the temperate climate of Bangladesh, the potential for natural agriculture is much higher here. The temperature here never drops below minus.
As a result, nature maintains an abundance of organic matter throughout the year. As a result, the plants are nourished and the nature is fresh and green. By exploiting this climate and using natural resources, Bangladesh can go a long way in natural agriculture, which can be a model for the whole world.
Organic agricultural products are being cultivated in 189 countries of the world. The world’s 2.4 million farmers are now cultivating organic agricultural products on about 51 million hectares of land. The largest number of farmers in India is 5 lakh 75 thousand. In Ethiopia, which is in the second position, the number of organic agricultural producers is 2 lakh 3 thousand 602. Mexico is in the next position with 2 lakh farmers. On the other hand, Australia, Argentina and the United States are in the top three in terms of land cultivation.
According to a study by the European research institute FIBL, organic agricultural products have grown by 300 percent in the last decade. The largest markets for organic products are the United States, Germany and France. In the next few years, it will stand at 138 billion. Certified organic products are currently being exported to 174 countries around the world. Most of these countries are less developed like Bangladesh.
Therefore, as an agricultural country, Bangladesh has huge potential for production and export of organic products. We can take, for example, the African country of Uganda. The country’s farmers called for a revolution in organic farming with the contemporary climate and soil structure. At present, the country’s farmers are exporting 600-700 million worth of organic agricultural products
Present situation of organic farming in Bangladesh :
According to a research paper by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, at least 10 percent of the country’s land is suitable for the production of organic products. Organic Agriculture FIBL, a Swiss-based organization, has published a research report titled ‘The World of Organic Agriculture Statistics and Emerging Trends 2018’. Bangladesh’s position in this report is disappointing.
The report further said about Bangladesh, the land for organic agriculture has not increased in Bangladesh since 2013. In 2016, 101 organic farming projects were launched in Bangladesh; So that 9 thousand 303 entrepreneurs are involved.
However, it has been said that the Bangladesh government has taken a plan to implement the ‘National Organic Agriculture Policy-2018’ and form a ‘National Organic Standards Board’ under the Ministry of Agriculture to increase organic food production. Although it is still in the planning stage. Organic products are being cultivated in only 6,060 hectares of land in Bangladesh, which is only 0.1 percent of the total cultivable land. According to the report, 56.7 million acres of land in the world are currently under organic agriculture system, which is 1.2 percent of the total land.
On the other hand, the rate of organic farming in Asia is 3 percent. China and India are in the best position in organic cropping system. And among the SAARC countries, Sri Lanka is in the best position. But the hope is that many farmers in our country are showing interest in the IPM system. ‘IPM activities’ could revolutionize Bangladesh. The ‘IPM program’ of the Department of Agricultural Extension in Bangladesh has revolutionized the spread of organic production method.
The Department of Agriculture of the Government of Bangladesh is imparting training to the farmers for cultivation in the IPM system. In this method, crop management pests are controlled through special management to reduce the reliance of farmers on chemical pesticides.One of the components-products of pest control management through ‘IPM method’ or ‘integrated pest management’ is the use of beneficial friend insect rearing and insect sex pheromone traps.
Vegetables produced in organic farming can meet the demand of the country and export activities to foreign markets can enrich our agriculture and bring in a lot of foreign exchange
Impact on environment :
Organic fertilizers produced by high technology instead of chemical fertilizers provide essential nutrients more than urea, potash and phosphate fertilizers to vegetables and paddy plants. Organic compost manure is made by combining semi-compost dung, chicken droppings, rice husks, fish-chicken fins and digestive tract. Additional application of urea, potash and TSP fertilizers is not required for application of organic manure.
In addition soil fertility and health are long lasting. The crops produced are healthy and safe.Organic farming enhances the biodiversity of the land, increasing the fertility of the land. As well as increasing the land’s ability to cope with natural disasters such as heavy rainfall. According to the analysis of various data, it is possible to produce organic food only if the land which has been cultivated using the latest chemical fertilizers is left fallow for at least three years or re-cultivated without the application of chemical fertilizers.
This is because the residue of the most common chemical fertilizer used in agriculture loses its power in three years. Synthetic pesticides are not used in organic farming, but critics say many natural pesticides are no less harmful to the environment. If you cultivate with organic fertilizer, the yield will be less in the first one to two years.
However, after four to five years, the yield will be higher than the land cultivated with chemical fertilizers. It is possible to reduce the production cost of various crops and vegetables including paddy by 25-30 percent by applying organic fertilizers and using organic pesticide technology. When organic manure is used, the production cost of the crop is 50-60 percent less than that of chemical fertilizer. Organic methods can be used to preserve soil fertility by combining long and short-lived root vegetables in the soil. Using such organic pesticides in low cost crops can save farmers money as well as protect public health.