In the post-independence period, the most important challenge in India was to provide sufficientmeals to the growing population. To make sure this, high-yielding varieties are being used in combination of fertilizers, or pesticides. This helped the country to develop a food surplus in addition to concern over soil health, environmental pollution, pesticide toxicity, and sustainability of agricultural production. Scientists and policy planners are, therefore, reconsidering agricultural practices which relied more on biological inputs rather than heavy usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic farming can provide quality food without adversely affecting the soil’s health and the environment. Certified organic products including all varieties of food products including basmati rice, pulses, honey, tea, spices, coffee, oilseeds, fruits, cereals, herbal medicines, and their value-added products are produced in India. Non edible organic products include cotton, garments, cosmetics, functional food products, body care products, and similar products.
Organic farming is a system that avoids or excludes use of synthetic inputs like pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, etc. and relying on techniques like crop rotation, organic wastes, farm manure, rock additives and crop residues for plant protection and nutrient utilization.
Why Organic Farming? It is become gradually clear, how foods can impact both of our health and environment. In addition to eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods with good fat source, there is a rising question of food safety, nutrition, and sustainability. Safe foods are always better than more food. Organic crops grown in safe soil, with no modifications, and must remain separate from synthetically produce products. Farmers are not allowed to use pesticides, (GMOs), fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock are given organic feed. The livestock never treated with antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal-by-products.
Organic farming practices reduce pollution to air, water, soil, and helps to conserve water, reduces soil erosion, and increases soil fertility. Farming without pesticides is also better for conservation of biodiversity; birds and small animals. By eating organic food, we are out to fewer/ no pesticides and more nutrients.
Demand for organic: The key factors affecting consumer’s growing demand for organic food is the health awareness and the willingness of the public to pay for the high-priced produce. In general, consumers of organic products are awell-off, educated, and health conscious group urged by strong consumer demand, and concerns about the environment.
Salient Features of Organic Farming: Some of the salient features of organic farming include:
Advantages of Organic Farming: Organic farming is an important form of doing agriculture which has many benefits to ecosystem such as:
Nutrition: Organic food is rich in nutrients and it is free from harmful chemicals, it also increases the nutrients in the soil so the grown crop is healthier to consume.
Free from chemicals: In organic farming chemicals are not used to control pests and other harmful plant diseases, which causes cancer and other diseases to the consumers. But organic farming is free of toxic chemicals.
Quality food: The organic food is having quality with nutrients and it tastes better than the food grown by using synthetic chemicals and quality of food is determined by its taste.
Long Time Store: Organic food has the capability of longer time storage due to its metabolic and structural integrity in their cellular structure than the other crops grown by using synthetic chemicals.
Low input cost: Expenditure on agriculture is low with organic farming because it need animals to till the land, manures which are easily available and they can prepare their own, and the bio fertilizers are prepared with low cost.
Organic Farming and PKVY Scheme:
As the global population began to grow rapidly, the need for a more sustainable approach in food production became more obvious. Thus, to produce food while establishing an ecological balance to prevent soil fertility or pest problems, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) was lunched by the Government of India in 2015. It is an extended component of Soil Health Management (SHM) under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). PKVY aims at supporting and promoting organic farming, in turn resulting in improvement of soil health. The objective is to produce agricultural products free from chemicals and pesticides residues by adopting eco- friendly, low-cost technologies.
Key Thrust areas of PKVY in promoting organic farming include the following:
PKVY is implemented in a time frame of three years in line with the PGS-India’s prescribed conversion period of 36 months from conventional farm to organic.Accordingly, PKVY promotes organic farming through a cluster approach to adopt PGS Certification. To avail the scheme, each cluster or group must have 50 farmers willing to take up organic farming under the PKVY and possess a total area of at least 50 acres. PGS Certification facilitates farmers to certify their organic produce, label and market their products domestically.
Contribution of AFC India Limited towards Organic Framing:
AFC India Ltd has been working towards bringing more and more area under organic cultivation and currently implementing centrally sponsored Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), which aims at development of models of excellence, ensure long term soil fertility buildup, resource conservation and offer safe and healthy food without the use of agro-chemicals. It also aims to empower farmers through cluster approach, input production, quality assurance, value addition and direct marketing through innovative means. AFC India Limited has been allotted 100 clusters for adoption and PGS India Certification of Organic Farming under PKVY in Kanjhawala sub-division of North-West district of Delhi with project titled “Implementation of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) in the NCT of Delhi (Kanjhawala Sub-division)”. Total 9 villages have been allotted to AFC India Limited with an area of 2000 hectares for organic farming.
In present world most of the consuming food contains harmful chemicals which are causing various diseases unknowingly and this can be reduced by organic farming. Organic agriculture is an ecological approach which is based on the perception that tomorrow's ecology is more important than today's economy. Its basic aim is to reduce degradation of resources and make natural balance. But the major issue related to organic production is that the conversation from inorganic to total organic could not compensate the food demands of increasing population, because of unavailability of the organic sources which replaces the chemical and sustain the present production and also full fill the future demands. So rather than total organic it needs to integration of all sources towards the sustainability.