Organic Farming vs Chemical Farming
Difference between Organic Farming and Chemical Farming
Since Independence, Indian agriculture has been unable to meet the demand of food in the country during the first two decades of independent India and food production was a matter of concern at those times. Agriculture was based on traditional practises which has now been transformed to new and modern practises from generation to generation.
The dependency for food products on western developed countries and their innovative practises in agriculture has determined us to become self-sufficient too, by modernising agriculture in India. And Now India has become a great exporter of food products after the Green Revolution.
The agricultural system adopted from the west has been very effective for the well being of the people but it has started showing unsustainability towards agriculture and the need of sustainable agriculture methods has again been felt.
Sustainable Agriculture puts great emphasis on maintaining the growth rate of Agriculture which would be enough to meet the demand of food for all living beings without even draining the resources. Health & Being healthy has become a latest trend with many celebrities promoting healthy foods and giving their primary focus to regular exercise.
And ‘this health’ cannot be achieved by just avoiding junks or doing exercises, we need to put in extra effort for regulating our daily diets and adding healthy and ‘Organic’ food products.
In contrast, foods which are not Organically farmed are referred to as Inorganic or Chemical.
So what exactly is Organic & Chemical Farming? Well, we will find this out here.
Organic Farming is one of the several approaches towards a sustainable agriculture system. Organic farming uses various techniques like intercropping, mulching, integration of crops and livestock and it strictly prohibits the use of any synthetic inputs and maintaining the health of soil is the central theme of this method. It is one of the best alternatives to avoid the ill effects of chemical farming.
It is an agricultural process that uses biological fertilisers and pest control to grow different types of plants in different fields. It is a system of farming that was initiated to reduce the effects of chemical pesticides & fertilisers, focused on repairing, maintaining and improving the ecological balance. It sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people and it combines tradition, Innovation and Science to benefit the environment and also promote their relationship and a good quality of life for all involved.
Organic farming is dependent on the natural breakdown of organic matter and replacing the nutrients used by the previous crops by green manures and composting. The harmful chemicals are replaced by using natural pesticides and weed management is done using tillage, mowing and cutting and heat is used to kill the weeds and prevent them from growing, using organic materials. Irrigation requirement is less and has no adverse effects on land, air or water.
Pros & Cons of Organic Farming
It does not use expensive fertilisers or pesticides and therefore there is no extra expense and hence it is economical.
- The use of cheaper and local inputs make a good return on investment.
- There is a huge demand for Organic products in India and on the international market as well which generates income through exports as well.
- Organic products are free of chemicals and fertilisers so it is environment friendly and promotes sustainable development.
- They are more nutritional, tasty and also healthy.
- It produces a great source of employment as it is labour intensive farming.
- Output is less as compared to modern farming.
- Demands high price due to higher demand.
- Lack of awareness in small and marginal farmers.
- Organic products have a shorter shelf life due to non usage of artificial preservatives.
Chemical farming is a process of growing plants using chemical pesticides & fertilisers extensively with low crop rotation ratio and high use of labour. It is also called Intensive farming and the plants are genetically modified to produce in large numbers involving the use of other methods & materials such as mechanical ploughing, plant growth regulators, chemical fertilisers or pesticides.
Chemical Farming is based on chemical orientation rather than ecological orientation and it has more side effects than benefits and thus causes destruction to nature and has a harmful impact on the natural ecosystem. It causes adverse effects on land, air and water and has an increased use of irrigation.
Chemical Farming was taken place during the industrial revolution period when the humans were replaced with machines, and was essential at the time when there was less productivity, but now it has lost its popularity and many other alternatives such as Sustainable farming, Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture, Zero waste agriculture and Organic Farming has taken its place.
Pros & Cons of Chemical Farming
- Uses cheaper synthetic fertilisers and sewage sludge instead of compost and animal manure that are expensive to ship. Hence the costs are less.
- Make use of larger lands for growing and high demand can also be satisfied thus returning higher profits.
- It provides more job opportunities to drivers, labourers and helpers.
- Low cost of production enables the farmers to grow more crops and meet the demands for food supply. The effects of global warming, drought are also reduced, contributing more production.
- Low cost of production allows the farmers to sell the products at a low price which leads to more demand and hence more profit for both the farmers & consumers.
The harmful chemicals used as fertilisers enter the crops and cause health risks to humans and animals consuming it.
- Introduces pollutants like the byproducts of chemical fertilisers used in the process, in the environment causing health & environmental hazards.
- It is disadvantageous to small farmers as the big industries with huge capital can invest in large farmlands and dominate the agricultural industry, leaving less room for small farmers.
Comparison between Organic & Chemical Farming
|S.No.||Comparison Factor||Organic Farming||Chemical Farming|
|1||Definition||It is a type of farming in which natural fertilisers or bio-fertilisers are used for growing different types of plants.||It is a type of farming that uses chemical pesticides & fertilisers for growing plants and uses genetic modification for increasing the produce.|
|2||Primary Focus||Producing healthy and chemical free food products.||Producing a high number of food products.|
|3||Insecticides/Pest Management||Uses insects, birds, traps or healthy & naturally derived insecticides for pest control.||Uses chemical or synthetic insecticides for pests that can be harmful for the plant.|
|4||Weed Management||Crop rotations, Tillage, Hand weeding or Mulching is done to manage weeds.||Uses chemical herbicides for weed control.|
|5||Animal farming||Animals are provided with healthy & organic foods and are allowed to move around the land and mate naturally.||Animals are given antibiotics, growth hormones and medications and they are not allowed to move freely in the land, instead they are caged .|
|7||Pollution||It doesn’t cause any type of Pollution.||It causes air, water, land and soil pollution.|
|8||Nature||It collaborates with Nature.||It dominates nature instead of collaborating with it and causes the exploitation of nature.|
|9||Irrigation||Irrigation is mostly reduced.||Irrigation is highly required.|
|10||Ecosystem||It improves the ecosystem.||It causes a severe impact on the ecosystem.|
|11||Soil Fertility||It improves the fertility of soil.||It deteriorates the soil fertility.|
|12||Miscellaneous||It increases the microbial life in the soil, improving the soil structure and the produce is healthier and unpolluted without leaving any chemical residues. The nutrients are available for a longer period of time and prevent soil erosion, also protecting from pests & diseases.||It blocks the microbial life and causes the destruction of soil structure, altering the soil pH and leading to soil erosion. The nutrients are available for a shorter period in the soil and the hazardous materials get accumulated in the soil. Crops grow faster and chemical residues get inside the crops.|
Here, we have seen both types of farming. It is hard to conclude that one system of farming is more beneficial or profitable than the other because it depends on site and crop specific factors, market opportunities, labour availability, other agronomic factors, management skills of the farmers, and overall farm performance.
The profits depend on the choice of crops that is determined by environmental conditions and the demand for that product and also on the available governmental programs supporting that crop.
Both the farming methods have their own pros & cons and we cannot deny any of it. Despite the issues of chemical farming, it is still the most popular method of farming but it would be best to encourage the farmers to grow safer & less expensive foods that could have less drawbacks, instead of just arguing between the two methods.
We need to decide what we want, safe food without any chemicals or unhealthy foods that is available easily at a cheaper rate, until we get both in the same farming method.