With the help of traditional methods of farming, food levels in the food banks of the world have increased. But very often the produce is full of chemicals, pesticides, etc., which eventually have adverse effects on human and animal health as well as the health of the soil. Organic farming came into being due to the shortcomings of traditional farming, but what are the pros and cons of organic farming?
What is Organic Farming?
Organic farming is a technique used in farming without the use of any chemicals or synthetics. Its aim is to produce crops which have the highest nutritional values with least impact on nature. Crop rotation, green manure, use of natural fertilizers and biological pest control form the crux of organic farming. It is a proactive ecology management strategy. This strategy enhances the fertility of the soil, prevents soil erosion and at the same time protects the humans and animal kingdom from the side-effects of chemicals and synthetics. Many of the farm products, like, vegetables, fruit, herbs, meat, milk, eggs, etc. are produced organically by some farmers.
“Organic” as defined by law, implies quality assurance. The words “natural” and “eco-friendly” mean that organic farming techniques might have been used, but it does not necessarily mean completely following organic techniques.
Pros and Cons of Organic Farming
The most important of the advantages of organic farming is that it maintains the life of the soil, not only for the current generation, but also for the future generations. Water pollution is reduced with organic farming. Most of the time after it rains, the water from the fields, which contains chemicals, gets drained into the rivers. This pollutes the water bodies. In organic farming, since no chemicals or synthetics are used, water pollution reduces as well.
Organic farming helps in building richer soil. Rich soil is obtained by intelligently rotating crops. The rich soil helps in plant growth. The rate of soil erosion is reduced drastically. A French study has revealed that the nutritional quality and micro-nutrients are present in higher quantities in organically produced crops. The micro-nutrients promote good health. Organically grown food tastes better too. The overall cost of cultivating the crops reduces as the farmers use green manure or worm farming to replenish the lost nutrients of the soil. The other option that the farmers use, is to grow legumes in rotation with the other crops. The life of organically grown plants is longer than the plants cultivated by traditional methods. Organically grown crop is more drought tolerant. The chemical fertilizers cause the plant to ripen fast. When the crop does not get water it withers and dies, which is not the case with organic crops.
Along with the pros, there are certain cons too. The first disadvantage is low productivity. With the highly developed chemicals and machinery, the farmer is able to multiply his harvest manifold times. The organic farmers use the cultivation method as opposed to drilling method used by the traditional farmers. The cultivated soil is prone to wind and water erosion. The traditional farmers opine that direct drilling does not cause any disharmony in the soil structure. The next argument is that the organically produced food is expensive. The cost is very often 50-100 percent more than the traditional food. The other valid argument is that organic food is not always available. There is a reason behind that. The organic farmers grow crops in accordance to the season. Neither do they artificially grow any crop nor do they extend the life of the plant or use chemicals, synthetics or pesticides. Therefore, oranges will be found only in winters and mangoes only in summer. Looking at it from the health benefits point of view, there is no doubt that you will benefit if you eat a particular food item, when it is actually in season.
After weighing the pros and cons of organic farming, it is noticed that the pros outweigh the cons. It is therefore best to consume organically grown food, although it is expensive.