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What exactly is organic farming, and what are the key characteristics of organic farming?

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

Organic farming is not a new concept in India, as it has been practiced since ancient times. It is a farming system primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way that the soil remains alive and in good health through the use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials, as well as beneficial microbes (biofertilizers), to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco-friendly, pollution-free environment.

The key characteristics of organic farming

  • Long-term soil fertility is protected by preserving organic matter levels, increasing soil biological activity, and judicious mechanical intervention.

  • Providing crop nutrients indirectly by employing relatively insoluble nutrient sources that are made available to the plant by the activity of soil microorganisms

  • Nitrogen self-sufficiency achieved by the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as appropriate recycling of organic wastes such as crop residues and livestock manures

  • Weed, disease, and pest control rely primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties, and limited (ideally minimal) thermal, biological, and chemical intervention.

  • Comprehensive livestock management that takes into account their evolutionary adaptations, behavioural demands, and animal welfare issues in diet, housing, health, breeding, and rearing.

  • Paying close attention to the influence of the farming system on the environment as a whole, as well as the conservation of animals and natural areas

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