Organic Farming vs Conventional Farming: Which Method Is Better?
Which is better: organic farming vs conventional farming?
What is the difference between organic and inorganic farming?
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.
- Masanobu Fukuoka
India is an agriculturally-dominated nation. But the agricultural occupation is underappreciated. We don't even think about how the fruits, vegetables and grains reach our plates. How are they grown? Are chemicals used that seep into the soil? Are they losing nutrition? Can they be of better quality?
Some of these questions will be answered in this article about organic farming vs conventional farming. What is good for India and for the health of Indians?
A quick fact: 70% of the rural household depend on agriculture to earn a living, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That's how reliant India is on farming. And that's why it is important to do it right.
What is a better farming method: organic farming vs conventional farming? Let's find out.
The Difference Between Organic Farming and Conventional Farming
Let's delve into learning more about each kind of method before we compare organic farming vs conventional farming.
Conventional farming is the method of farming that involves using pesticides and other chemicals to get the highest possible yield of crops. However, using this method compromises on crop quality.
The chemicals seep into the soil and enter the food chain at multiple points. Conventionally grown food that lands on our tables may also be laden with pesticides that are harmful to our health. Conventional farming's goal is to ensure food security, even if that can be achieved through genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
On the other hand, organic farming or modern farming rely on sustainable ways of growing crops. These techniques are farm-focused, improving the natural fertility of the farm. According to research some of these techniques are:
Use of natural fertilisers like compost, green manure or bone meal
Fostering natural insect predators, etc.
Modern or organic farming has the aim of improving fertility, health and safety of the soil, preserving the environment and providing human beings with high-nutrition crops, free of chemicals.
Organic Farming vs Conventional Farming At a Glance
Use of natural fertilisers, crop rotation improves soil quality.
The land and soil quality degrade over time because of the use of artificial pesticides.
Only natural fertilisers like manure, compost, etc. are used.
Artificial fertilisers like DDT are used.
The food is higher in nutrients.
There is a nutrient loss. Sometimes significant.
Impact on soil
The soil remains fertile.
The soil becomes infertile due to exploitation.
Impact on the environment
Organic farming is sustainable and respects the environment.
Not sustainable; has a toxic effect.
Genetically modified organisms are not used or encouraged.
Genetically modified organisms are used to increase crop yield.
Crops grown through this method do not cause any damage to human or animal health.
Crops grown through this method can be detrimental to health.
There is no animal cruelty.
Often inject antibiotics in livestock.
Use of mixed crops, crop rotation, companion planting etc. retains soil quality.
The farming methods are focused only on increasing the yield and improving the economy. That is not good for the land or the future.
Lifestyle change for farmers
It's for the better.
It spells doom. Chemical agriculture is a threat to their livelihoods.
We Need Organic Farming
Organic farming is the sure winner in the debate of organic farming vs conventional farming.
According to the World Bank, India faces the following challenges:
Raising agricultural productivity
Reducing rural poverty
Ensuring food security
All of these challenges can be dealt with through organic farming. Agricultural productivity can be raised by preventing soil infertility and erosion through harmful conventional farming methods like stubble burning. Use of methods like crop rotation can not only maintain productivity but also ensure food security for a longer-term than conventional farming.
When the productivity of farming is high, rural poverty is automatically low. Unaware farmers exploit the land which is then rendered infertile after a few years. Once the land is infertile, they lose their livelihoods, bury themselves in debts and often take their own lives.
How can you make a difference to this you might ask? The farming industry like any other is based on the demand-supply equation. If you help in raising the demand for organically grown foods, farmers will have no choice but to shift to modern farming methods. When you are to choose foods grown by organic farming vs conventional farming produce, choose the former. It starts with you.
Three cheers for organic farming. It's what will pave the way for a healthier you, a flourishing India and a happier environment.
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