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India’s natural, organic farming strategy for rice and wheat

  • Published
    16th Mar, 2022

India’s natural, organic farming strategy can help in targeting global export market, thereby feeding the world population and getting valuable foreign exchange for the country.


Background story of how India switched to conventional system of production:

  • Till the early 1960’s, the predominant mode of cultivation was what is now called “organic farming”, with no synthetic fertilisers or pesticides available or known. 
  • Since the use of urea from the beginning of the 1960s, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium-based fertilisers became available after the establishment of industrial plants at Sindri (Bihar) Udyog Mandal (Kerala).
  • Also, in this decade, synthetic pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), endrin, and others entered the market. 
  • Another spectacular discovery was that of the high-yielding hybrid wheat and rice.
  • The high-yielding wheat was discovered by Norman Borlaug (Nobel Prize winner) and was rapidly adopted by India largely due to the pioneering work of Dr Swaminathan and MV Rao. 
  • Swaminathan is remembered as the ‘father of Green Revolution’ and Rao as the “wheat man of India”.
  • Due to drought from 1964-70, India had to import food and became heavily dependent on the United States for wheat supplies under the Public Law 480 agreements.
  • Ultimately, the Green Revolution was initiated. The theme of the initiative was to boost food grains production of rice and wheat using any method and at any cost.

Need for Organic Farming in India:

  • The need for organic farming in India arises from the unsustainability of agriculture production and the damage caused to ecology through the conventional farming practices.
  • The present system of agriculture which we call 'conventional' and practiced the world over evolved in the western nations as a product of their socio-economic environment which promoted an overriding quest for accumulation of wealth.
  • This method of farming adopted by other countries is inherently self-destructive and unsustainable.
  • The modern farming is highly perfected by the Americans who dispossessed the natives of their farms right from the early period of the new settlers in US (Wadia, 1996).
  • The unsustainability of Indian agriculture is caused by the modern farming methods which have badly affected/damaged production resources and the environment.

Moving back to organic farming:

  • The first and foremost sound solution is the usage of organic manures from compost, cow dung and ploughing and mulching of leguminous plants.
  • Neem revived the hope of using harmless pesticides but its availability is very low.
  • Karanj oil (Karanjin active principle), several leaf extracts like Adathoda and garlic-buds aqueous extracts are found to be effective to some extent as active repellants but they cannot replace synthetic pesticide.
  • jeevamrutham — a recently designed concoction called Ramabanam, which gained prominence.
  • These concoctions are made from jaggery, ginger, cow milk, cow curd, cow dung, cow urine, asafoetida.
  • All the ingredients are mixed and fermented for a week, diluted and sprayed on crops. 
  • It is claimed that the product can be used as a fertiliser and a pesticide. 

About biopesticides:

  • The term biopesticides defines compounds that are used to manage agricultural pests by means of specific biological effects rather than as broader chemical pesticides.
  • It refers to products containing biocontrol agents – i.e., natural organisms or substances derived from natural materials (such as animals, plants, bacteria, or certain minerals), including their genes or metabolites, for controlling pests.
  • According to the FAO definition, biopesticides include those biocontrol agents that are passive agents, in contrast to biocontrol agents that actively seek out the pest, such as parasitoids, predators, and many species of entomopathogenic nematodes. 
  • They fall into three major classes: biochemical pesticides, microbial pesticides, and plant-incorporated protectants.
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