Agriculture

Organic Farming in India - Meaning, Types and Benefits

Updated on 17th April, 2024, By Abhijeet Warak
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Organic Farming in India - Meaning, Types and Benefits
Organic farming is a key solution to increase crop production without harming the environment and human health. It uses methods like crop rotation, polyculture, organic manures, and natural pest management to grow crops in an eco-friendly manner.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Organic farming is not new in India. It has been in existence since ancient times. In today’s context, it is seen as a solution to increase crop production in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. In this blog, we will understand the concept of organic farming comprehensively.

What is Organic Farming?

Organic farming is a farming method that uses natural fertilisers such as organic manure, compost, and biofertilisers to grow crops and uses bio-pesticides to protect the plants from pests. 

The objective is to maintain soil health and preserve the environment. It is also known as eco farming, green farming, biological farming, or ecological farming.

Need for Organic Farming in India

  • Protect and preserve environment
  • Prevent soil degradation and maintain soil health
  • Preserve helpful organisms
  • Reduce the emergence of new pests and diseases.
  • Protect human health by producing quality food for human consumption.

Today, organic farming is a solution to growing crops without harming the environment or human health.

Types of Organic Farming

There are two types of organic agriculture that are widely practised across the country: pure organic farming and integrated organic farming.

Pure Organic Farming

Pure organic farming completely avoids using inorganic farming inputs like chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Instead, it focuses on growing crops using organic manure and bio-pesticides.

Integrated Organic Farming

It is a cyclical and zero-waste process in which the waste generated from one method is a nutrient or raw material for another process. In this type, integrated nutrient management and integrated pest management are combined to achieve a balance between ecology and economic demand.

Organic Farming Methods

Organic Farming Methods

Various organic farming methods are crop rotation, organic manures and compost use, diverse crop selection, natural pest and disease management, and organic livestock integration. Let us see these methods briefly in the sections below.

Crop Rotation

The crop rotation method involves growing different crops on the same piece of land according to different seasons. It helps maintain soil health and fertility, prevents the growth of insects and pests, and effectively controls weeds.

Organic Manures and Compost

This method uses organic manures and compost to add essential nutrients to the soil. Organic manures are natural fertilisers derived from plant and animal residues.

On the other hand, compost is a recycled organic fertiliser created by mixing plant leftovers, kitchen waste, and other organic matter.

Diverse Crop Selection

One effective method of organic farming is crop diversity, also known as 'Polyculture'. This method involves cultivating different crops concurrently to reduce the crops' vulnerability to specific pests and diseases and support the ecosystem.

Natural Pest and Disease Management

It involves using natural methods and beneficial insects to control pests and diseases. It obliterates the need for chemical pesticides.

Organic Livestock Integration

It involves integrating livestock farming with crop farming. In recent years, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has been promoting this agricultural production system in regions with potential for organic farming.

Benefits of Organic Farming

Benefits of Organic Farming

  • It is environmentally friendly and a sustainable agricultural practice.
  • It is healthy for humans as organic produce is devoid of toxic chemicals.
  • It helps maintain soil fertility and health.
  • It helps promote biodiversity as it is beneficial for insects and micro-organisms in soil

Limitations of Organic Farming

  • In the initial years, high input costs and low yield are the main limitations.
  • Obtaining certification for organic produce is lengthy and entails high costs.
  • Marketing and distribution of organic produce is comparatively inefficient and costly compared to inorganic farming.

Government Efforts to Promote Organic Farming

The Indian government has undertaken efforts to promote organic farming across the length and breadth of the country since 2015-16. To this end, it has launched several schemes and programmes. These are:

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) was launched in 2015 as a comprehensive scheme for promoting organic farming in India through a cluster approach. It seeks to motivate farmers to take up organic farming. For this, it entails the following:

  • It aims to mobilise farmers to form a cluster comprising of 50 members and covering a land of 20 hectares or 50 hectares.
  • The clusters will help farmers adopt Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) based certification for organic produce so that they can market their products locally.
  • It provides financial assistance of INR 50,000 per hectare to farmers   within a cluster up to a maximum of 1 hectare.
  • Make farmers aware of organic inputs such as Panchagavya and Jeevamruth and ensure that they adopt these inputs.

Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North-Eastern Region (MOVCDNER)

The Central Government launched the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for the North-Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) in 2015. It aims to develop certified organic production in value chain through

  • Empowering 30,000 – 50,000 farmers in the region through the creation of 100 FPOs.
  • Bringing 50,000 hectares under organic farming in the North-Eastern region of India.

National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)

The Ministry of Commerce launched the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) in 2001. It lays down the process for obtaining certification for organic products.

The key objectives are:

  • Provide a platform to evaluate the certification of organic produce.
  • Recognise certification programmes of bodies seeking accreditation.
  • Facilitate certification of organic products in accordance with the approved standards.
  • Promote organic farming and organic processing in the country.

Is Organic Farming Profitable in India?

As per the All-India Network Project on Organic Farming (AI-NPOF), organic farming is profitable, sustainable, and productive compared to inorganic farming. Some of the findings are:

  • The yield with organic farming was higher for cereals, oilseeds, and vegetables when compared to inorganic farming.
  • Despite high cultivation costs, the net return was highest in 63% of the crops grown with an organic approach.
  • Use of low-cost, eco-friendly bio-fertilisers makes organic farming a low-cost alternative to chemical methods.

Frequently Asked Questions on Organic Farming in India - Meaning, Types and Benefits

1. What is Organic Farming?

Organic farming involves use of organic manure and bio-compost for growing crops. It avoids the use of synthetic fertiliser and pesticides.

Organic farming promotes biodiversity, produces quality crops for human consumption, maintains soil fertility and health, and is environment friendly.

Sir Albert Howard is the father of organic farming.

Abhijeet Warak
Published By
Abhijeet Warak
With over 2 years of experience, Abhijeet is a seasoned tractor and implement expert with an M.Tech (Agri) (FMP) from Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth. His knowledge is rooted in practical experience and academic excellence.
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