Organic Farming vs Conventional Farming
While most of today’s large-scale food producers continue to profit and consumers see supermarket shelves overflowing with farm products, the unseen costs of our dependence on agro-business exert a mounting toll. There are several ways to go about organising your farms in this category. You can opt for conventional farming or organic farming. Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages.
Here is a list of reasons that you should consider between choosing between organic farming and conventional farming techniques:
Organic farming comes with more health benefits than conventional farming
Organic farming is expensive in the first few years but it becomes quite profitable in the long run. It may even give you higher returns after five years as compared to conventional farming. However, the value of organic food is not in the profitability but rather in its innate health properties. Organic food is not artificially processed hence it maintains all the original minerals and vitamins in the food. It also provides enhanced immunity and nutrition as compared to the same kind of conventional produce.
Organic yields equal or surpass conventional yields
When organic farming is lavished with serious research, it has proven the ability to deliver comparable yields. According to the Rodale 30-year study, after three to five years of the transition period, organic yields equal conventional yields. Though there prevails the fear that there are insufficient quantities of organically acceptable fertilisers, the data suggest that synthetic fertilisers currently in use can be replaced by nitrogen-fixing leguminous cover crops.
Organic farming is more efficient than conventional farming
Conventional farming depends on high inputs of synthetic nitrogen. These fertilizers are produced using fossil fuels through the so-called Haber Bosch process. This means that conventional farming heavily depends on a non-renewable and finite source of energy for growing its crops. Organic farming does not use synthetic fertilizers. What organic farming, on the other hand, aims to create, are closed nutrient cycles. The extra energy required for fertilizer production and farm fuel use in conventional systems also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In other words, growing organic crops heal the environment as well.
Organic farming builds healthier soil
Using organic matter in the form of green manure, compost and farmyard manure and adopting cover crops and crop rotations and intercropping and by implementing low soil disturbance tillage, soil quality can be subsequently improved. Improving water infiltration and retention capacity through high levels of organic matter and permanent soil cover, such as cover crops or mulch, which substantially reduce the amount of water needed for irrigation. In conventional farming, artificial fertilizers can also make the soil acidic over the long-term, after years of application. The nitrification process, which converts ammonium-nitrogen (NH4+-N) to nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) results in the release of hydrogen ions (H+), which can decrease soil pH causing soil acidification.
Organic farming keeps toxic chemicals out of the environment
Conventional systems rely heavily on pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides) many of which are toxic to humans and animals. With more than 17,000 pesticide products (agricultural and non-agricultural) on the market today, it is extremely hard to keep up with adequate safety testing. Low-level exposure of pesticides are most often found to be related to human health problems, and chemical residue from pesticides used in farming can be commonly found in air and water samples as well as in the food we eat. Organic farming keeps these chemical additives away and concentrates on producing only the freshest and pure 100% natural and organic produce.
A farmer’s work is not just about generating the maximum possible yield in any one growing season, it’s also about maintaining healthy soil and limiting pollution. It is about sustainability and using only the best practices suitable for 100% natural cultivation of the organic produce. Our current food production system needs some serious repair at the earliest. And, this can be achieved by employing organic farming techniques in the agriculture sector. We also need to promote organic systems which respect the integrity of soil health and contribute to reducing pollution as a whole.