Do the Benefits of Globalization Outweighs Its Disadvantages Essay
(Farming without the addition of artificial chemicals.) Organic farming can be defined by the proactive, ecological management strategies that maintain and enhance soil fertility, prevent soil erosion, promote and enhance biological diversity, and minimize risk to human and animal health and natural resources. It can also be defined as Vegetable and livestock production using natural sources of nutrients (such as compost, crop residues, and manure) and natural methods of crop and weed control, instead of using synthetic or inorganic agrochemicals. It is also called low input farming. Many kinds of farm products are produced organically including vegetables, fruit, herbs, grains, meat, dairy, eggs, fibers, and flowers.
In the past organic farm production was often considered as being only for radicals or hippies. Now it is seen as a viable economic move – with benefits to the farm soil, to the environment, and to the purchasers of the products. An organic approach can contribute towards making a farm more financially viable in several ways. * First, it is a low input way of farming. You do not need to invest so much money in expensive chemicals and fertilizers. However, any declines in initial production are balanced against these reduced costs. * Second, it is less likely to result in land degradation than many other production methods; hence the long-term cost of sustaining production is less. * Thirdly, public demand for organic produce has markedly increased over recent years.
The key characteristics of organic farming include;
1| Protecting the long term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention.| 2| Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble nutrient sources which are made available to the plant by the action of soil micro-organisms.| 3| Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as effective recycling of organic materials including crop residues and livestock manures.| 4| Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties and limited (preferably minimal) thermal, biological and chemical intervention.| 5| The extensive management of livestock, paying full regard to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioral needs and animal welfare issues with respect to nutrition, housing, health, breeding and rearing.| 6| Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider environment and the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats.
TYPES OF ORGANIC FARMING
Organic farming works with nature, rather than against it. It recognises the fact that nature has many complex processes which interact to control pests, diseases and weeds, and to regulate the growth of plants. There is a variety of ways of growing plants that work with nature rather than against it. Some techniques have been used for centuries. Some of the most effective and widely used methods are:Poly-culture Theoretically, it is better for the long-term welfare of the land to avoid a monoculture approach to farming. Monocultures tend to utilize the same nutrients from the soil and deposit the same “pollutants” into the soil; causing nutrient deficiencies and pollutant toxicities. When several different plants, and/or animals are growing together, the waste products of one will often be used by another; and the nutrients used by one, may be replenished by the activity of another.Biodynamic farmingIt views the farm or garden as a “total” organism and attempts to develop a sustainable system, where all of the components of the living system have a respected and proper place.|
Permaculture is a system of agriculture based on perennial, or self perpetuating, plant and animal species which are useful to man. It is a philosophy which encompasses the establishment of environments which are highly productive and stable, and which provide food, shelter, energy etc., as well as supportive social and economic infrastructures.
Crop rotation consists of growing different crops in succession in the same field, as opposed to continually growing the same crop. Growing the same crop year after year guarantees pests of a food supply – and so pest populations increase. It can also lead to depletion of certain soil nutrients. Growing different crops interrupts pest life cycles and keeps their populations in check. Crop rotation principles can be applied to both broad acre and row crops alike. The principles may even be applied to pastures. In crop rotation cycles, farmers can also sow crops that like legumes that actually enrich the soil with nutrients, thereby reducing the need for chemical fertilisers. For example, many corn farmers alternate growing corn with soybeans, because soybeans fix nitrogen into the soil. Thus, subsequent corn crops require less nitrogen fertiliser to be added.
MERITS OF ORGANIC FARMING
Sustainability over the long term: Many changes observed in the environment are long term, occurring slowly over time. Organic agriculture considers the medium- and long-term effect of agricultural interventions on the agro-ecosystem. It aims to produce food while establishing an ecological balance to prevent soil infertility or pest problems. Organic agriculture takes a proactive approach as opposed to treating problems after they emerge.
Soil. Soil building practices such as crop rotations, inter-cropping, symbiotic associations, cover crops, organic fertilizers and minimum tillage are central to organic practices. These encourage soil fauna and flora, improving soil formation and structure and creating more stable systems. In turn, nutrient and energy cycling is increased and the retentive abilities of the soil for nutrients and water are enhanced, compensating for the non-use of mineral fertilizers. Such management techniques also play an important role in soil erosion control. The length of time that the soil is exposed to erosive forces is decreased, soil biodiversity is increased, and nutrient losses are reduced, helping to maintain and enhance soil productivity. Crop export of nutrients is usually compensated by farm-derived renewable resources but it is sometimes necessary to supplement organic soils with potassium, phosphate, calcium, magnesium and trace elements from external sources.
Water. In many agriculture areas, pollution of groundwater courses with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a major problem. As the use of these is prohibited in organic agriculture, they are replaced by organic fertilizers (e.g. compost, animal manure, green manure) and through the use of greater biodiversity (in terms of species cultivated and permanent vegetation), enhancing soil structure and water infiltration. Well managed organic systems with better nutrient retentive abilities, greatly reduce the risk of groundwater pollution. In some areas where pollution is a real problem, conversion to organic agriculture is highly encouraged as a restorative measure (e.g. by the Governments of France and Germany).
Air and climate change. Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high quantities of fossil fuel to be produced). Organic agriculture contributes to mitigating the greenhouse effect and global warming through its ability to sequester carbon in the soil. Many management practices used by organic agriculture (e.g. minimum tillage, returning crop residues to the soil, the use of cover crops and rotations, and the greater integration of nitrogen-fixing legumes), increase the return of carbon to the soil, raising productivity and favouring carbon storage. A number of studies revealed that soil organic carbon contents under organic farming are considerably higher. The more organic carbon is retained in the soil, the more the mitigation potential of agriculture against climate change is higher. However, there is much research needed in this field, yet. There is a lack of data on soil organic carbon for developing countries, with no farm system comparison data from Africa and Latin America, and only limited data on soil organic carbon stocks, which is crucial for determining carbon sequestration rates for farming practices.
Biodiversity. Organic farmers are both custodians and users of biodiversity at all levels. At the gene level, traditional and adapted seeds and breeds are preferred for their greater resistance to diseases and their resilience to climatic stress. At the species level, diverse combinations of plants and animals optimize nutrient and energy cycling for agricultural production. At the ecosystem level, the maintenance of natural areas within and around organic fields and absence of chemical inputs create suitable habitats for wildlife. The frequent use of under-utilized species (often as rotation crops to build soil fertility) reduces erosion of agro-biodiversity, creating a healthier gene pool – the basis for future adaptation. The provision of structures providing food and shelter, and the lack of pesticide use, attract new or re-colonizing species to the organic area (both permanent and migratory), including wild flora and fauna (e.g. birds) and organisms beneficial to the organic system such as pollinators and pest predators.
The number of studies on organic farming and biodiversity increased significantly within the last years. A recent study reporting on a meta-analysis of 766 scientific papers concluded that organic farming produces more biodiversity than other farming systems. Genetically modified organisms. The use of GMOs within organic systems is not permitted during any stage of organic food production, processing or handling. As the potential impact of GMOs to both the environment and health is not entirely understood, organic agriculture is taking the precautionary approach and choosing to encourage natural biodiversity. The organic label therefore provides an assurance that GMOs have not been used intentionally in the production and processing of the organic products. This is something which cannot be guaranteed in conventional products as labelling the presence of GMOs in food products has not yet come into force in most countries.
However, with increasing GMO use in conventional agriculture and due to the method of transmission of GMOs in the environment (e.g. through pollen), organic agriculture will not be able to ensure that organic products are completely GMO free in the future. A detailed discussion on GMOs can be found in the FAO publication “Genetically Modified Organisms, Consumers, Food Safety and the Environment”. Ecological services. The impact of organic agriculture on natural resources favours interactions within the agro-ecosystem that are vital for both agricultural production and nature conservation. Ecological services derived include soil forming and conditioning, soil stabilization, waste recycling, carbon sequestration, nutrients cycling, predation, pollination and habitats. By opting for organic products, the consumer through his/her purchasing power promotes a less polluting agricultural system. The hidden costs of agriculture to the environment in terms of natural resource degradation are reduced.
Organic farming proves to be more profitable than the age-old traditional farming methods.
It has been found that organic farming reduces the production cost by about 25 – 30%, as it does not involve the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which thus makes organic farming very cost-effective.
This type of farming leads to a less toxic environment as far as the air, water and soil is concerned.
Soil is the most important component in farming, and organic farming preserves the soil by reducing soil erosion up to a large extent.
Organic farming also enables the farmers to use the soil for a longer period of time to grow crops, as soil fertility is maintained for a long time in such a case.
Organic farming has a positive effect on the ecosystem, as it proves vital in supporting the survival of wildlife in the lowlands. It even provides safe pasture lands for grazing.
This kind of farming is not only beneficial to the farmers, but it also has proved useful for the dairy industry. Cattle grazing on organic farmlands have been found to be less prone to diseases, and they also yield more milk. These are definitely good signs for a consumer of these dairy products from a health perspective, and for a dairy organization from the profit perspective.
Organic farming eliminates the chances that are there of the fast production of food through artificial means.
Products or foodstuffs produced from organic farming neither contain any sort of artificial flavors or preservatives, nor do they contain any harmful chemicals.
The original nutritional content of food is preserved due to the absence of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Organic products moreover are tastier than the products yielded from traditional farming.
Consumption of products obtained from organic farming minimizes the risks of physical ailments such as heart attacks, cancer, and ever strokes. Scientific studies have proven that organic foods are healthier than the inorganic ones
Organic farming automatically promotes diverse habitats. At such places, one will find a place full of life with animals, birds and insects.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/benefits-of-organic-farming.html
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