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Organic Farming

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Latest Questions - Organic Farming

  • What are the basic skill sets and knowledge required for organic farming?

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    • Narsi 3 years ago

      Thanks joshwolf for the answer. While your answer provides a good idea of the perspectives that one should have while creating organic farming, I am more keen to know the hard skills and specialised knowledge that could be required for someone who wishes to excel in organic farming

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  • Which are the universities worldwide where very high quality research is being conducted on organic farming?

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    • Narsi 3 years ago

      Thanks joshwolf. Both professors are obviously doing exceptional work, but it appears they are more into work on bio-ecosystems and biodiversity in general rather than organic farming in particular

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  • I read that genetically modified food crops are so engineered that they produce their own pesticides. And apparently, they continue producing these pesticides even inside our tummies. Sounds scary. Is this true or is it one of those conspiracy theories?

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  • Getting enough nitrogen, and particularly synchronization so that plants get enough nitrogen at the right time (when plants need it most), is likely the greatest challenge for organic farming. How is this challenge being overcome currently?

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    • Divyajeychandren 3 years ago

      use of legumes is the easiest way. planting crops like say green gram can help fix atmospheric N2 in the soil. Farmyard manure is one the easiest available sources for nitrogen. Nitrogen fixing biofertilizers like Azotobacter, Clostridium, Anabaena, Nostoc, Rhizobium, Frankia, Anabaen, Azospirillum are used widely, most popular being Rhizobium.

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  • What role does intercropping play in organic farming?

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    • Divyajeychandren 3 years ago

      Planting 2 or more dissimilar crops simultaneously on the same piece of land in a definite row arrangement can produce greater yields by making better use of resources that might otherwise not be used by a single crop. Apart fro resource utilization, ICs can help reduce soil erosion, water runoff, can provide alternate yields in case of failure/loss of one crop, and in case of legumes used as intercrops, can help fix atmopheric nitrogen in the soil.

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  • How is weed management practice in organic farming different from that in traditional farming?

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    • Divyajeychandren 3 years ago

      Prevention is the most effective way of weed management. This is effected by thorough seed cleaning, use of weed-free seeds and manual control. Eradication measures include manual weeding by hand-pulling, hand-hoeing, tillage, mowing, burning, flooding or smothering. Introduction of a natural enemy is one of the biological methods of weed control. For example: Destruction of Lantana weed by introduction of Teleonemia scruplosa. Conventinal farming includes weedicides to kill/prevent weeds. Weedicides are almost always synthetic.

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  • Are genetic engineering and organic farming mutually exclusive? Or could GM find a place in organic farming in future?

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  • Which are the organisms used normally for pest control / reduction in organic farming?

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  • Which are the organic/natural sources to amend the soil pH?

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  • How much more do organic food products fetch in the market than do their traditional counterparts? Can organic food products have prices that are twice that for the normal ones? Are consumers willing to pay steep premiums for much more healthy products without antibiotics and chemicals stuffed in them?

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Latest Discussions - Organic Farming

  • Farmers in the Indian state of Karnataka have promised the Mayor of Bangalore city to buy segregated wet waste generated in the City.

    The farmers told the Mayor that the cost of organic compost manure was quite high and they would prefer buying the wet waste, which they would use as fertiliser by composting it in a traditional manner. In reply, the Mayor assured them that the Palike would bear the cost of transporting the segregated wet waste and sell it at a very nominal rate of Rs 60 per tonne.

    Interesting!

    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/284290/farmers-keen-buying-wet-waste.html

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  • SCARY REASONS!
    Fewer toxins will go straight into their bodies
    Fewer antibiotics will be used
    Fewer toxins will go into the environment surrounding your children
    Your kids will be more likely to grow up healthy and reproduce safely
    Chemical foods lead to reductions in IQ in children

    FUN REASONS!
    Organic farming preserves the childhood ideal of happy farm animals
    Organic makes it safe to garden and teaches kids to love vegetables
    Buying organic foods teaches kids how to read labels and the economic power of shopping
    Eating organic makes kids feel good about their choices
    Organic food tastes better

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  • Organic agriculture, even when produced on large-scale farms that are not necessarily sustainable, is still ultimately better for the environment than conventional agriculture, according to most experts. But conventional agriculture is not a baseline to be working from. A small car produces fewer emissions than a large SUV, but that doesn't mean everyone should be looking to cars as a sustainable means of transportation.


    http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/organic-agriculture-bad-environment-another-reason-eat-locally.html?campaign=daily_nl

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  • V. Deepan and R. Muthukumar aim to document organic farming through the length and breadth of the country.

    It would be a bike journey across India, inspired by “The Motorcycle Diaries”. Deepan was also fascinated by organic farming, and the lifestyle of tribals and their farming practices, so he worked the journey around this concept. Goan environmentalist Claude Alvares' book that listed India's organic farmers was his guide.

    By the time they set out on July 25, 2011 at 8.30 a.m. from Coimbatore, the project had cost them close to Rs. 8 lakh. They have equipped themselves with a Dell laptop, a Canon 7D, Sony high-definition handycam, a tent, and their companion through the trip — a souped-up 2006 Royal Enfield.

    Deepan and Muthu decided to cover 28 States, spend at least a fortnight in each one, visit organic farmers, and document their way of life. They will cover nearly 40,000 km, across hills and vales, jungles and streams, with 100-kg backpacks in tow.

    Nearly two weeks into their trip, the friends have visited farms in Pollachi, Udumalpet, Mettupalayam, Gobichettipalayam, Sathyamnagalam, Namakkal, Karur and Trichy, documenting unique organic farming practices. Muthu and Deepan, who normally ride from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., don't travel with a fixed plan. During the course of their journey, the duo discovered that organic farmers were not a minority.

    After the trip, the friends want to bring out a reference manual to link all organic farmers, as also a documentary of their life-changing journey.

    Their dream? That they get to set up an organic commune on the lines of the Tibetan settlement near Thimbam Ghats; where life is in consonance with Nature.

    http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/metroplus/article2321934.ece

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  • Srinivasamurthy, a farmer from Siddanahundi in T Narasipur taluk, supplies 200 varieties of indigenous paddy grown in his one acre plot through organic farming. He was inspired to take up farming after he read books on agriculture, and the problems being faced by agrarians due to seasonal vagaries. He says, “Once, I came across a book written by Dr Richarya which stated that India had at one time more than 4 lakh varieties of paddy. This inspired me to search for paddy varieties following which I toured Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Kerala and Orissa.”

    He then started growing the paddy in his land, which he irrigates with water from river Cauvery, and till date has grown more than 200 variants of rice, including Athi Karaya, Sannakki, Ratna Choodi, Ambe Mohara and Navara, which can be harvested between two to four-and-a-half months.
    This farming enthusiast says that his mission earns him a profit of Rs 80-90,000.

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/this-man-protects-indias-paddy-variants/214669-60-115.html

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  • When farmers across the country are facing tough times owing to crop failure or low yield, this 57-year-old from Chamarajanagar district with his perseverance and hard work has made a difference in the field of agriculture.

    The success story of Channabasavaradhya from Kempanapalya village in Kollegal taluk is an eye opener for those who think that farming is no longer a profitable venture.

    Channabasavaradhya is cultivating more than 30 varieties of crops in a small patch of six acres. He has developed a small forest on half-an-acre of land. What’s interesting is that he has achieved this rare feat all through organic farming.

    The farmer, who has studied only up to 7th standard, was quick to realise the hazards of pesticide within a few years of taking up agriculture in the 1970s. He said goodbye to modern agriculture and took up organic farming, which has got him more profit with less investment.

    With only one pump set to irrigate his six acres, he grows more than 30 crops like coconut, banana, turmeric, ginger, pepper, garlic, ladies finger, ragi, paddy, wheat, coffee, betel nut leaves, arecanut, groundnut, orange, pomegranate, sweet lime, chikoo, papaya, lime, tomato, beans, horsegram, cucumber and varieties of greens.

    Besides taking care of his family requirements, he also earns a good profit. He even grows the fodder and compost fertiliser required for his cattle and land. By investing Rs 10,000 per acre, he earns more than Rs 60,000 profit for every crop because of the good market for organic products.

    He is fulfilling his father Channavera Aradhya’s aspiration by taking up organic farming for more than 25 years. He has developed a small forest in half-an-acre, growing teak, tamarind, neem, bamboo and a banyan tree. He did not purchase a single log of timber to build his house and used his own trees for doors, windows and furniture.

    Twice a year he organises seminars on organic farming at his field, inviting experts to create awareness and inspire the farming community.

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/reaping-the-harvest-of-hard-work/213160-60-115.html

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  • Switzerland is one of the pioneering countries of organic farming. Today it has one of the highest proportions of organic agricultural land in the world- 11%.
    The Swiss law requires all agricultural subsidies to be contingent on minimum ecological standards. This agro-environmental policy is based on a referendum from 1996. The minimum ecological standards require crop rotations with at least four crops, measures against soil erosion, equilibrium in the nutritional balance and high biodiversity on 7% of the agricultural area.
    Switzerland has a well-established organic sector with over 6000 organic farms, 200 biodynamic farms and approximately 11% of the agricultural land.
    Like other European countries, Switzerland has more than 5% of their agricultural land in organic production.
    Wheat yields in biodynamic and organic systems are 80% or more of conventional systems; yields of potato tubers are 60% or more of conventional.
    Soil fertility has been greatly enhanced on biodynamic and organic farms, as indicated by numbers of earthworms and a number of biological activity measurements. Diversity of organisms was increased in organic and especially biodynamic systems relative to conventional systems. Soil organism activity continued to increase in organic systems for more than 20 years after conversion to organic. System performance continued to improve over this time.
    Despite favourable conditions, the pest pressure is limited on farms due to a strict crop rotation and relatively small fields separated from each other by hedges and bush strips.
    The Swiss organic market is now 1.4 billion Swiss francs or 0.9 billion Euros. The sales of organic products have been continually growing in the past years, and the market share of organic products is now 4.9%.


    http://thecitizen.co.tz/business/-/17883-organic-farms-lesson-from-swiss-success

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  • A court in the US has ruled that chemical pesticides used by conventional farmers that cross property lines contaminating neighboring organic farms could be considered trespassing, nuisance and negligence, entitling organic farmers to retributions. http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/victory-for-organic-farmers-drifting-pesticides-are-trespassers/

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  • The pilot project of the district horticulture department to cultivate varieties of chilli, cauliflower and tomato through organic farming has yielded positive results in several blocks of the district. In fact, farmers who hail from BPL and SC families are enlightened after they were successful to cultivate good quantity of crops of chilli, cauliflower and tomato in Bahria, Dhanupur, Saidabad, Jasra, Tharwai, Utrav, Holagarh, Kaurihar, Bahadurpur and Shankargarh blcoks after investing comparatively less amount in fertilizers.
    The horticulture development programme for the cultivation of chilli, tomato and cauliflower was launched by officials six months back in almost 20 blocks of the district. For this, the department had imparted training to over 1000 farmers under its mission programme with an aim to promote organic farming.

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-12-07/allahabad/30485315_1_organic-farming-organic-crops-pk-shukla

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  • Scientists report that a genetically engineered corn crop has failed to kill the corn rootworm — the pest it was designed to stop. This may be the most serious threat to a genetically modified crops in the U.S. since farmers first started growing them fifteen years ago.

    From the beginning, scientists worried that biotech companies were overusing Bt and increasing the chances that it would eventually stop working. That is because the insects that the crop was meant to kill has built up resistance against the Bt - just as they would against any other insect killer!

    Read More: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2011/12/05/143141300/insects-find-crack-in-biotech-corns-armor

    in Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry Organic Farming

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    • Divyajeychandren 3 years ago

      GM crops have the potential to breed “super-weeds” and “super-pests”. Farmers will need stronger and more expensive pesticides which will mean more expenses and the environment will face more resilient weeds and worse water pollution. The whole thing is like a Vicious circle.

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  • Given that current production systems leave nearly one billion people undernourished, the onus should be on the agribusiness industry to prove its model, not the other way around.
    Given that the current food production system, which is really a 75-year-old experiment, leaves nearly one billion of the world's seven billion humans seriously undernourished today, the onus should be on the advocates of agribusiness to prove their model can feed a future population of nine billion -- not the other way around.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/12/organic-can-feed-the-world/249348/

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  • An organic farming initiative- “Oota from your thota”, by Garden City Farmers Trust, in Bangalore, India, encourages organic urban farming. The group work towards greening the city by growing organic vegetables and fruits, instead of ornamental plants, and helps create awareness about healthy living. The November event follows a successful August event and had over 400 people in attendance. Stalls on organic farming practices and compost making were keen to share information. Outlets selling organic food were also available. The event sought to educate as well as exchange unique farming ideas.
    The event also had sessions on organic kitchen gardening, composting and healthy eating. Several commercial organizations took part in the event

    http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/3607-oota-from-your-thota---bengaluru-going-big-on-home-gardening

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  • Population increases geometrically, whereas agricultural production increases arithmetically. Land, on the other hand, remains constant, except in very rare cases. When we can no longer bring more land under cultivation, we are left with the alternative- to increase food production i.e. yield per hectare. Everyday new innovations, new varieties and systems, technologies are being brought into this world. But we must ask ourselves, are these healthy? Will they sustain us? What if they deplete whatever precious little we have?
    Organic agriculture is as old as farming itself. Initially farming was done completely with natural resources. But with today’s burgeoning population,…

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  • Studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists indicate that organic farmers who need to periodically amend their soils with compost after planting can still control weeds-and hold down costs-by using fabric ground covers. This will be welcome news to organic farmers who till composted manure into their crop fields after planting.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830144510.htm

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  • Several villages of Damoh, which was last in news for being the hub of farmer suicides earlier this year, are witnessing a small, quiet, yet successful green revolution-of the organic kind.
    Farming has not been a successful proposition in this very backward district of the parched Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh since the late 1980s due to a rapidly receding water table and scarce rainfall.
    Helped by Gramin Vikas Samiti, a local pro-organic farming organization, and People's Science Institute, a Dehradun based non-profit, these farmers together cultivated rice on a total of over 1500 acres.
    The results have been more than encouraging.
    While the average rice yield in Bundelkhand is around 17-20 quintal/hectare, these villages recorded average yields of at least 75-80 quintal per hectare this season. While the lowest yield in these 32 villages was 44 quintals/hectare, the maximum yield stood at 115 quintals/hectare.

    http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/agriculture/article2668286.ece

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  • Many from Pune have chosen to go the natural way by setting up organic kitchen gardens in their terraces, backyards and balconies.

    IT professional Animesh Topno with his daughter at the kitchen garden on his terrace. The garden is a fine balance of flowers and seasonal veggies
    DNA

    The terrace at Animesh Topno’s house used to serve as a place to dry clothes, until he came across a presentation on organic kitchen gardening. The area is now home to spinach, broccoli, methi (fenugreek leaves), tomato, basil, beetroot, cucumber, carrot, radish, onion and other veggies. Topno, a project manager in an IT firm, is the latest convert to the current trend of organic kitchen gardening, in the city. With reports of existence of pesticides in fruits, vegetables and food items becoming a regular feature in newspapers and magazines, many, like Topno, are turning to get their hands dirty and are setting up their own organic kitchen garden.

    - http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report_setting-up-organic-kitchen-gardens-in-pune_1618005

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  • 1. In study after study, research from independent organizations consistently shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods. Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium. 14 more reasons for us to eat organic foods - http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/reasons-eat-organic-food.html

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  • World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a way to travel, meet people — oh, and learn about organic agriculture. The movement has quietly cultivated a global following.
    WWOOFing began in the early 1970s in England as a way for farmers to get weekend help. Back then, the name stood for Working Weekends on Organic Farms. It was started by a London secretary who thought city people needed a convenient way to enjoy the countryside and learn a little about the organic movement.
    A trial weekend of work in Sussex quickly led to others and, eventually, chapters in other countries.
    The movement was soon embraced by young adventurers as a cheap way to travel. All they had to pay was their transportation to the farm. Because they only had to work half days during their stays, they had plenty of time to enjoy themselves in a new locale.
    The growth of the Internet has unlocked the potential of the network, providing the adventuresome with a cheap gateway to the world. The American branch has a small staff, with headquarters in Laguna Beach.
    Over the years — largely by word of mouth — WWOOFing has grown into a loose global network that hooks up those willing to work with farmers eager to take them for a few weeks, or even a few months.
    WWOOFers are encouraged to purchase travel or medical insurance, and many hosts have homeowners insurance that may cover them, but there's an implicit understanding that workers are there at their own risk. Neither the volunteers nor their hosts are subject to background checks, so the organization warns both to check out comments and ratings on the WWOOF website.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-wwoofing-20111125,0,1025454.story

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  • Organic products such as cacao and bananas have raked in big profits for farmers in Costa Rica’s poorest region. - http://www.ticotimes.net/Current-Edition/Top-Story/For-Talamanca-farmers-organic-is-gold_Friday-November-25-2011

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