India is one of the agricultural based Nation with more than 58% of the population out of 1150 million, pertaining to agricultural sector. Before 1960, in India only organic farming practice was followed without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. During late 1960s, there was threaten to food security due to population raise and frequent draughts. Government of India had entered collaboration with USA for reforming farming practices by adding chemical products for cultivation, diseases and weed management. There was increase in production and productivity in chemical or conventional farming and our country was able to satisfy partly the food security. After 30-40 years, production and productivity reduced drastically with abnormal input costs and the farming sector turned to be unfavourable occupation to all concerned. Soil degradation, more diseases, uncontrollable weeds, high water consumption, unfavourable price and with several natural and manmade issues, conventional farming turned to be unworthy for farmers. The recent decade has seen a serious concern over the issue of environmental degradation and an urgent need for its sustainability has been raised. Consequently, attempts have been made by many institutions, both public as well as private, to promote sustainable growth especially in regards to the ecology. During the past, till the introduction of the ‘LPG’ in the Indian economy, Indian agriculture was largely based on traditional knowledge and practices which mainly made use of organic mode of farming techniques and it is on this past practices that the modern proposal of the promotion of organic farming is based. Perhaps, an interesting argument that can be made against this is that the present agriculture is producing enough to meet the demand of the population and even export. But at what cost is it coming ?
The introduction of a reckless chemical based agricultural policy in the recent decades has had adverse impact on the Indian agricultural practices and serious environmental concerns have been raised. Taking methodologies and practices from the west to enter the neo-liberal era and adopting to their mode of production led to the introduction of the famous ‘Green Revolution’, which was to address the issue of low productivity, but remained confined to defined geological areas favouring farming conditions aptly and now, for many farmers, has turned into the ‘Red Revolution’ of their blood (In regards to chemical usage). ‘Why do farmers commit suicides? A study of Andhra Pradesh’ in regards to farming inputs that: “The regime has had the effect of releasing control over the terms on which peasants access inputs. These inputs, ranging from power to pesticides have gone outside the ambit of state control.”
The high doses of pesticides which increased from 24.32 thousand tonnes in 1970-75 to 75 thousand tonnes in 1990-91 have been having an adverse impact on the aquatic life, plants and animals. Time and again, animal deaths and human deaths as well, have been reported due to the excessive use of fertilizers.
All these factors completely come against this definition of sustainable agriculture as given out by the Food and Agriculture Organisation that “The successful management of resources for agriculture to satisfy changing human needs while maintaining or enhancing the quality of environment and conserving natural resources”. Arguments may be raised over this and several critiques may also come forward but what needs to be kept in mind is that sustainable agriculture is of utmost importance and this can be achieved by encouraging the use of organic farming, which is currently limited to an area of just 41,000 ha in India, only 0.03% of the total cultivated area. This comes in complete contrast to the area usage around the world which varies between 3.70%-11.30%.
To escape from the harmful effects of chemicals, the concept of organic farming was emerged. Organic farming seems to be more appropriate as it considers the important aspects like sustainable natural resources and environment. It is a production system, which favours maximum use of organic materials like crop residues, FYM, compost, green manure, oil cakes, bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, bio-gas slurry, microbial products like Azotobacter, Trichoderma, Pseudomonas, Beauveria, Blue green algae, Azolla, Bacillus spp. etc., have increased the yield and also played important role for minimizing the harmful effect of pesticides and herbicides. Organic farming is a practical proposition for sustainable agriculture if adequate attention is paid to this issue. There is urgent need to involve more and more scientist to identify the thrust area of research for the development of eco-friendly production technology.
Organic agriculture occupies just 1 percent of cropland across the world. While organic sales continue to grow, a study has found that organic farming is economically-feasible in many countries. The global increase in the area under organic farming is a result of high awareness of health problems caused by contaminated food, ill effects of environmental degradation, appropriate support by government and organisation and have gained strong support not only by local governments but also by international organisations such as European Union and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM). Some of the countries abroad have shown an increase in the organic production by 20%.
Many benefits of organic farming aren’t quantified and would likely tip the balance even further in organic’s favour. Problems like soil erosion and fertilizers’ nitrates entering nearby groundwater, for example, often plague conventional agriculturists but not organic ones. So why aren’t more farmers switching to organic methods? It takes three years of organic farming before a farmer can label his produce “organic” and cash in on that surcharge. During those three years, the farmers need to spend, grow and harvest like an organic farmer—but earn like a conventional one. The study’s authors conclude by urging governments to encourage farmers to transition from conventional to organic by developing policies to support them during that time.
However, in India, there have been many a problems that have caused a failure of usage of organic farming. This has resulted due to failure of linkages between the farmers and markets and absence of financial support from the government. The only policy in this regard has been that of National Standards of Organic Production in 2000.It is concluded that OF practice, our own indigenous technology is to be reintroduced from the current 1 to 2% to the possible extend to get rid of difficulties in conventional farming. Organic farming will solve the food shortage and crisis in our country permanently and can encash heavily by exporting to needy countries of having severe food shortages.