Organic farming can be better defined as a form of agriculture that relies on techniques (compost, farm yard manure, green manuring, crop rotation and biological pest control). Organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides but strictly limit the use of manufactured fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, plant growth regulators i-e, human sewage, sludge, nano-particles and genetically modified organisms (GMO).
Goals of Organic Farming
Goals of Organic Farming are defined by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement). It is an international umbrella organization established in 1972.
Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions. It combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life. Or in other words, Organic Farming is defined as an agricultural production system used to produce food and fiber, all kinds of organic products including grains, meat, dairy, eggs.
What does certified organic mean?
It refers to the agricultural products that have been grown and produced according to the uniform standards verified by independent state or private agencies acknowledged by USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). All products sold as organic must be certified. Certification includes:
- Annual submission of organic system plan
- Inspection of farm fields
- Processing facilities
Inspector verifies the organic products such as long-term soil management, buffering (isolation) between organic farms and neighbouring conventional farms, along with this, record keeping is very important component of every farming. Processing inspection includes review of facilities, cleaning, pest control method, ingredient transportation, storage, record keeping and audit control. Organic foods are minimally processed to maintain the integrity of food without artificial ingredients or preservatives. Certified organic requires the rejection of synthetic agrochemicals. Irradiation and genetically engineered food or ingredients.
Is Organic food more nutritious and safe?
The definite study has been done mainly because of the multitude of variables involved in the making of a fair comparison between organically grown food. This includes crop variety, time after harvest, post harvest handling and even soil type and climate which have significant effect of nutritional quality. Organic food is safe to consume as compared to any other food. Consumer should wash before consuming to ensure maximum cleanliness. Organic food contains lower levels of pesticide residues than conventional produce. It is a misconception that organic food could have a great contribution of E.coli (Escherichia coli) contamination because of raw organic manure application. Although conventional farms commonly apply without proper revolution. Strict guidelines have been set on manure use in organic farming. Either it must first be composted and applied 90 days before harvest which allow ample time for microbial breakdown of any pathogen.
What does organic food cost and why does it cost more?
The cost of organic food is lighter as compared to conventional food because the organic price tag clearly reflects the true cost of organic food substituting labor and intensive management for chemicals. The health and environment costs are borne by society. These costs include clean up of water and remediation of pesticide contamination. Includes costs of growing, harvesting, transportation and storage. Ploughing costs are also included. The labor involved in Organic farming is more expensive as compared to inorganic.