Organic farming: pros and cons


Organic farming can be understood as an agricultural method, in which chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not used. It was introduced by Sir Albert Howard, recognized as the Father of Organic Farming, who wanted to evolve a more eco-friendly way of agriculture. It depends on different other farming methods, like crop rotation and the use of compost. Organic farming thrives on the benefits obtained from recycling and use of natural products. Green manure, biological pest control methods and special cultivation techniques are employed to maintain soil productivity. Presently, organic farming is catering to a huge market worldwide. Explore the article to know its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros And Cons Of Organic Farming

Pros

  • Organic farming is more economical than the other farming techniques. Its range of benefits includes reduced soil erosion (retaining fertility and reducing the need for fertilizers) and less use of water. Therefore, organic farming is more profitable.
  • Organic farming results in less nutrient contamination, since it stays away from artificial pesticides. This leads to reduced carbon-emission and increased biodiversity.
  • Organic farming is capable of producing the same crop variants that are produced by the conventional farming methods, even as it brings down the expenditure on fertilizers and energy by 50%. This type of farming also retains 40% more topsoil.
  • The issue of soil management is effectively addressed by organic farming. It involves techniques like crop rotation and inter-cropping and makes extensive use of green manure, which helps even damaged soil that is prone to erosion and salinity, to feed on micro nutrients.
  • This type of farming helps the farmers clear the weeds, without using any mechanical and chemical applications. Organic way of farming relies on practices like hand weeding and enhancement of soil with mulch, garlic and clove oil, corn gluten meal, table salt and borax, to get rid of weeds and insects, while ensuring crop quality.
  • Farming in the organic way is environment-friendly and non-toxic, as it uses green pesticides like neem, composed tea and spinosad. These pesticides boost the crop defense systems, by identifying and removing diseased and dying plants in time.

Cons

  • The UN Environmental program conducted a study and survey on organic farming in 2008, which concluded that farming by organic methods gives small yields when compared to conventional farming methods.
  • Norman Borlaug, the Father of the Modern Green Revolution, has argued that since organic farming is capable of catering to a very small consumer group, world ecosystems are being destroyed by the expanding cropland in an alarming way.
  • Danish Environmental Protection Agency conducted a research and concluded that the organic farms which produce potatoes, seed grass and sugar beet are barely producing half of the total output produced by conventional farming, in the same area.
  • Organic agriculture is hardly contributing to addressing the issue of global climate change. It does reduce CO2 emissions to a certain extent, but there is no dramatic contribution.
  • In 1998, Denis Avery of the Hudson Institute publicized the increased risk of E. coli infection by the consumption of organic food.

(Source – http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-organic-5713.html)

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