1What is Organic Farming?
In today's terminology organic farming is a method of farming system which primarily aims at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers and biopesticides) to grow and protect the crops for increased sustainable production in an eco-friendly pollution free environment.
In philosophical terms organic farming means "farming in spirits of organic relationship. In this system everything is connected with everything else. Since organic farming means placing farming on integral relationship, we should be well aware about the relationship between the soil, water and plants, between soil-soil microbes and waste products, between the vegetable kingdom and the animal kingdom of which the apex animal is the human being, between agriculture and forestry, between soil, water and atmosphere etc. It is the totality of these relationships that is the bed rock of organic farming.
2Scientifically, where crop nutrients come from in OF?
Any given part of a plant is composed of about 30 different elements. It means all these elements or nutrients are needed and are taken-up by the plants during its growth process. A plant can access majority of them from water and air(C, H, O, N) or soil and assimilate them through biochemical processes going on in its body during the growth process. Only rest of the
<10% of its body weight is accessed exclusively from soil. It is hypothesized that in organic farming plants are accessing much of the major elements (including nitrogen) from air. Not only that polycrops are key requirement in OF, there is integration of annual-perennial plants trees and animals on a given piece of land. Trees are the only agency in nature that accesses potential crop nutrients from meters down (while crop plants such as wheat and pulses draw nutrients from top 30 cm to 60 cm soil profile) in the soil and offer us on the soil surface in the form of fallen leaves and lopped branches. In conventional agro
practices importance of this plant biomass (fallen leaves or lopped branches of trees) that can be harnessed by recycling, is not honored/recognized. Plant
biomass is an important asset in OF and practitioners use it for crop production in various ways e.g. composting or surface mulch.
3Why restrict pesticides when India is a low user?
Yes, if calculated on the basis of quantity of pesticide use per unit area India is one of the low users. But if calculated on the basis of quantity of pesticide used in a given crop such as vegetables, it may even be more than the high use countries. It means the rate of use for a given crop and niche, it is not low. Higher chemical residues in many food items is an indication.
Question 16: Where are the evidences that high yields are possible in OF? Answer : Indeed it is difficult to believe for most of us that high yields are possible
without synthetic agro-chemicals. But recent research studies have indicated that high or comparable yields are possible in organic farming. Large numbers of practicing organic farmers are live examples of this possibility.
4Are OF products more nutritious?
Organic products are invariably free from chemical residues and are rich in some nutrients. There are enough indications that organically grown products are rich in vitamin-C and some minerals. Although, there may be dispute that how much superior and whether this quantity will have some significant impact on overall health scenario or not, but trends indicate their superiority over conventional products.
Recently under Network Project on Organic Farming, initial studies indicate improvement in some of the quality parameters of ginger (oleoresin and oil content), turmeric (oil, oleoresin, starch and curcumin content), black pepper (oleoresin content), chillies (ascorbic acid content), cotton (ginning percentage), and vegetables (iron, manganese, zinc and copper content in tomato, French bean, cabbage, cauliflower, pea and garlic).
5What is homa farming?
Homa farming has its origin from Vedas and is based on the principle that “you heal the atmosphere and the healed atmosphere will heal you” The practitioners and propagators of homa farming call it a "revealed science". It is an entirely spiritual practice that dates from the Vedic period. The basic aspect of homa farming is the chanting of Sanskrit mantras (Agnihotra puja) at specific times in the day before a holy fire. While there is no specific agricultural practice associated with homa farming, it is believed that, the farm and household it is practiced in, is energised and "awakened". The ash that results from the puja is used to energise composts, plants, animals, etc. Homa Organic Farming is holistic healing for agriculture and can be used in conjunction with any good organic farming system.
6Is Organic Farming non-scientific and unproven?
Many people believe that OF is non-scientific. It is incorrect. Yes, it is essentially un-explored, un-researched by the mainstream system in its totality. But it does not mean that it is non-scientific. Scientists need to research and understand the underlying principles of OF. Several aspects of OF are plausible and scientifically explicable. For most scientists the claims of high yields with OF are unproven at their research farms and unpublished in the research journal. But recent researches and long term experiment trials have proved that comparable yields are possible under organic management. Large number of practicing organic farmers, their high yields and their scientific system of farming is a proof of it and can be validated and researched by the scientists.