NaturalFarming vs Factory Farming
Have you ever been to a forest?
If you have been then you might wonder that the wild trees like mango, jamun, tamarind or any other unusual trees never miss their growing season, besides the fact that there is no one to look or care for them and still they produce a large quantity of fruits every year which are eaten by most birds, animals, insects and is still left for humans. There is no one to look after the pest or diseases caused to them, or to apply fertilisers, then how do they fruit themselves. How do they manage to grow without any care?
The Answer is NATURE. Nature looks after them and laws of nature are applied to agricultural practises and all the required resources are provided to these trees by Nature itself. This type of farming is called Natural Farming.
But then, as time has passed, farmers have now become more standard and they are learning new techniques to grow their crops in a more controlled manner and everything is just modernised rather than applying any traditional means of agriculture. This modern day Farming is termed as Factory Farming.
Farming industry has diversified with time from traditional farming to modern day farming. It has always been a way of life for the traditional farmers rather than just a business or a way to earn their living.
They have always been diverse, individualistic and interdependent and provide multiple benefits to the communities, consumers as well as the society, but modern day farming is more like specialised, standardised and corporately controlled and they provide profits only to the farmers or the investors.
Both types of Farming have their own pros and cons and have different principles of growing crops. Here we will discuss both of them and the underlying differences.
Natural farming is an agricultural practice that is imitated by nature itself and it is also called ‘Do Nothing Farming’ or ‘No Till Farming’. In India, it is called ‘Rishi kheti’ that is based on the principles of ancient Vedic farming, where the wastes of animals and juices made of certain herbs are used for controlling pests and for plant growth.
In natural farming, nature plays a very dominant role to the maximum extent and hence this process of farming includes protection of soil cover, biodiversity of the farm and integration of the farm components.
It is said as Do nothing Farming because the farmer is just a facilitator and all the work is done by nature itself, hence we can say that the physical work or labour for this farming practice is reduced by up to 80% as compared to any other agricultural practises.
The best example for natural farming can be Permaculture in which all the resources are provided by nature itself and every waste becomes a resource for others.
Natural Farming has no side effects as it does not use any type of chemicals. It only promotes a naturalcatalyst of biological activity in the soil and protects the crops from pests & diseases naturally. It works with nature to produce healthy and quality food, keeping the land as well as the humans healthy too. Everything in Nature is useful and a waste for one part can be used as a resource for another in the web of life.
The production cost for Natural farming is Zero because it doesn’t need anything from outside. The soil is rich of nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash, Iron, Sulphur and Calcium which is transformed to a required form to be utilised by the plants by the action of microorganisms such as bacteria, microbes and earthworms, which are itself present in the soil, but these organisms are destroyed when excessive chemical is used.
In case of Naturalfarming, when there is no use of chemicals, these microorganisms do their work and the soil provides these nutrients to the plants and so the plants do not require anything from outside and rest of the nutrients is taken from air, water and solar energy.
Zero Budget NaturalFarming (ZBNF)
The farming practice was planned by Subhash Palekar, in India, which has the same philosophy of Naturalfarming but with indigenous supplements. In zero budget naturalfarming, the soil is supplemented with microbial incolumns like Beejamruth & Jeevamrutha so as to accelerate the propagation of the soil microflora which would be helpful for the enrichment of soil.
ZBNF has some features including:
- Commercial level farming
- 98% of nutrients for the plants is supplied from air, water and sunlight and the rest 2% is fulfilled by the good quality soil with microorganisms.
- Soil microclimate due to the mulching.
- Cow dung and urine as microbial content obtained from Desi cows.
- Application of bioculture named Jeevamrutha instead of fertilisers.
- Pesticides like Dashparni ark and Neem Astra are used for controlling pests & diseases that are naturaland farm made.
- Weeds are essential here, taking it as a dead mulch layer.
- Multicropping is encouraged.
Principles of Natural Farming
There are certain principles on the basis of which Naturalfarming works. They are:
- No Till Farming
- No weeding by Tillage or Herbicides
- No use of Fertilisers/Chemical Fertilisers
- No need of Chemical pesticides
Different Practices of Natural Farming
NaturalFarming is based on different farming practises such as:
- No Till Farming
Main features of Natural Farming
There are certain features of NaturalFarming. They are:
- Physical work or labour is highly reduced by up to 80% as compared to other agricultural practises.
- Yield can be similar to chemical agriculture.
- Increase in soil fertility year after year.
- Reduced requirement of water.
Factory Farming is a form of modern farming in which the crops, animals, and animal products such as eggs, meat, or milk are produced in factories using innovative methods of agriculture like genetic technology.
Most of the food products available in the supermarket are produced using these methods of Agriculture. Factory Farming mostly uses synthetic fertilisers, pesticides and modern day irrigation techniques.
It is a system of raising livestock using highly intensive methods in which they are confined indoors in a strictly controlled condition and the crops are grown using various chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides.
All the products from the factory farms are genetically altered. Factory farms are large sized farms that are very cruel and inhumane towards the animals such as cows, pigs, chickens where they are kept in small cages or packed sheds.
The animals are deprived of any type of comfort and are feeded with drugs to keep them fattened. They are also altered to grow faster and they produce more eggs or milk than they naturally would. The plants or foods are also added with preservatives and chemicals which are unhealthy for consumption.
The processes in a factory farm are inherently linear and sequential. The inputs or raw materials flow in and the products and waste materials flow out in the process. The chemical and biological waste from animals of the factory farms can pollute the air and water of the local communities and also threatens the safety and the health of the food supply.
The animals here are treated as machines and not as sentient beings who deserve dignity, respect and good human treatment. The farm workers can be hired and fired with no compassion and can be replaced with machines.
Factory farms require continuous monitoring and regulation of the equipment which also produces environmental and public health risks. The machines create and concentrate more toxic wastes than nature could neutralise. Also the families who work or operate these farms are not necessarily better in financial stability than the traditional farm workers.
Why Factory Farming is practiced?
Factory farming has so many disadvantages but still it is practised. Why? Because every coin has two faces and we cannot determine the reality by just looking at one face. If it is used by most people then there might be something that we don’t talk about.
The world’s population is continuously rising and to feed this number we need to do something catching in the agricultural sector. Factory Farming is one such solution towards this problem.
Let’s learn about its benefits.
- The use of technology and application of chemical products causes less cost of production which benefits both the producer and consumers with better profits. This also enables the creation of an inexpensive food resource for consumers.
- Provides employment
- Increases production efficiency
- Promotes the development of local communities.
- It allows the workers to be more efficient
- It takes less time to bring a product to the market.
- It provides a better variety of foods for daily consumption.
- It can be constructed anywhere in the world.
- It can reduce food waste if it is responsibly managed.
- It encourages different technologies and innovative ideas.
Key Differences between Natural& Factory Farming
Here we will discuss the differences on the basis of some factors.
|1||Planting Practises||Naturalfarming promotes biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem as it doesn’t use any type of chemicals. Livestock is often integrated with crop production to reduce or eliminate the use of synthetic fertilisers.||They perform Monocropping – planting the same crop year after year in the same field. This type of growing practice reduces biodiversity, depletes the top layer of the soil, crops become susceptible to pests and diseases, and increases the use of synthetic and chemical fertilisers.|
|2||Pest Management||There is no use of pesticides in this type of farming. Mulching is only practised as a pest control measure in Zero Budget NaturalFarming and manual weeding is done with non chemical practises.||The factory producers depend on hazardous pesticides to control weeds, pests, insects, and fungi. These pesticides promote soil and water degradation, kill pollinators and other beneficial microorganisms, and it also causes a direct threat to farm worker’s health and also to neighbours and consumers.|
|3||Fertilisers||Fertilisers are added naturally which make the soil fertile and provide nutrients to their crops from naturalsources. Beejamruth and Jeevamrutha are used as fertilisers in NaturalFarming.||Factory crops are grown using chemical and synthetic fertilisers which are produced using large amounts of fossil fuels, which are then washed off into waterways while irrigation or by other relevant ways, that kills the aquatic animals causing toxic algal blooms.|
|4||GMO technology||NaturalFarming is free of Genetic Modification and the crops grown are much better without any toxicity.||The factory farmers often grow their crops using Genetic Modification which requires a higher amount of herbicides, forcing the farmers to buy expensive fertilisers & pesticides from the powerful seed companies.|
|5||Soil Health||NaturalFarming is based on No till farming and the soil is left undisturbed. Hence, the soil is protected against erosion and degradation and is more resistant to pests as the microorganisms are saved due to no till. The soil is preserved by avoiding pesticides & fertilisers and other soil pollutants.||These farms often grow the same crop year after year in the same land that leads to loss of soil nutrients. It also causes erosion and soil degradation. They also perform tillage which kills the beneficial microorganisms as well causing many other disadvantages as well. It also destroys the fertility of the soil.|
|6||Environment||The naturalenvironment is not at all affected and all the naturalresources are preserved for the future generations as well.||The release of chemical fertilisers causes great damage to the environment.|
|7||Fossil Fuel||Fossil fuel consumption is very less because of No Till farming.||High amount of fossil fuel is required by factory farms. To produce food for 4 people, it requires about 34,000 Kw/hr of energy or more than 930 gallons of Gasoline.|
|8||Health||These farms produce food without any interference of pesticides or other chemicals. Hence, the food produced is more healthy.||These farms use huge amounts of herbicides & pesticides due to which the food products are not healthy and cause many food borne illnesses. The farms and animal slaughterhouses often result in high meat contamination.|
|9||Animal welfare||Animals are treated humanely and are left to move anywhere. They are allowed to carry out their naturalbehaviours such as rooting in the dirt and pecking the ground.
Animals are not given any type of antibiotics.
No hormones are administered in Naturalfarming. This protects the human, animal and environment health as well.
|The animals in factory farms are crammed together in tightly confined areas or in cages where they can’t even see the sunlight. The animals are treated as machines there and are treated very cruelly. The unsanitary & unhygienic conditions often cause widespread disease and aggressive behaviour.
The animals are even given antibiotics and related drugs for non therapeutic purposes and overusing it causes health care costs.
They are even given hormones to speed up their growth. Cows are given rBGH hormone for increasing the milk production, which causes udder and hoof diseases, open sores and internal bleeding in them.
|10||Waste||It does not produce any waste and this type of farming works on the principle of sustainable agriculture where the waste of one system is utilised by another system. Due to this the wastes are totally eliminated. As the fertilisers and pesticides are avoided, pollution is also zero.||These farms pollute the air, water and land due to the wastes produced by animals. The fertilisers and pesticides also cause lots of wastes and these wastes are often washed off to the nearby river bodies polluting them.|
|11||Transportation||The food products can be sold through local farmer markets, farm stands or community supported agriculture programs. Much of the fuel is saved because of less transportation of products to far away markets. Due to less transportation, carbon dioxide emissions are also reduced.||These farms often export their food products. Mostly the food is exported on trucks and on average the food is travelled about 1500 miles before it reaches a consumer that means 2.3 billion gallons of fuel is wasted while sitting in traffic per year.|
Both the types of farming have their own cause & effect with certain benefits & restrictions. Naturalfarming has its own perks but it grows according to Nature and no human interference would work here. It has a slow production rate and takes longer time to be produced.
Factory Farming has so many restrictions but it gives many benefits such as variety of crops all throughout the season, high yield, early maturation, reduced labour, less dependency on naturalsunlight, warmth or cold, etc.
It doesn’t produce quality products but the amount of food products in our market is all because of the intensive methods used in factory farms. Due to the high yield, it causes less cost to the consumers and we get the products everyday. We cannot deny the fact that it ensures the food security of the whole globe. It has its place in the future also but it needs to be monitored and regulated well.