Organic Farming is a form of farming which doesn’t involve the use of artificial fertilizers and chemicals. It also promotes sustainable agriculture since its benefits are long-lasting. As the name suggests, organic farming uses only organic materials for cultivation and eliminates the participation of any artificial chemicals.
The use of artificial fertilizers might increase crop yield temporarily but it has long-term side effects which may make the land sterile.
How can we eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers?
Chemical fertilizers can be avoided by using bio-fertilizers and green manure. Bio-fertilizers contain beneficial microorganisms (e.g. rhizobium, blue green algae) which facilitate crop growth by increasing the nutrient value of the soil. It also improves the soil fertility in the long-term.
Green manure refers to cover crops which are incorporated into the soil before they mature. They are used to increase soil fertility and quality and can be used as a good replacement for fertilizers. Hence the quality of the crops is known as Fertilizer replacement value.
Choosing the right crop for green manure is important because different soils have different nutrient composition. For example, when using a land less rich in nitrogen, one can use leguminous plants as green manure. Roots of leguminous plants are generally rich in Rhizobium. Atmospheric nitrogen cannot be used by plants directly. Rhizobium converts atmospheric nitrogen into a form which plants can use. Thus the use of leguminous plants as green manure increases the availability of nitrogen in the soil.
Benefits of Organic Farming:
- Bio-fertilizers do not contain materials that are harmful to the soil. Chemical pesticides have certain side effects and sometimes it also affects people who consume the crop as food. Organic Farming eradicates the use of such chemicals in farming.
- In organic farming, the soil becomes a habitat for several microorganisms. These microorganisms and their by-product increase the composition of organic matter in the soil and thereby increasing soil quality.
- The use of green manure avoids soil erosion to some extent.
- The use of chemicals may contribute to soil and ground water pollution. This is not in the case of Organic Farming. Hence it also helps in ground water conservation.