Organic – The Buzz word
The word organic has become the buzzword in the recent times owing to the growing awareness of consumers on the drastic effects of chemical laden products on humans, animals and the environment. The label containing the words organic, green, natural and eco-friendly are drawing much attention of public though they are exceptionally priced. Of course, it is not a fad, but just a way of getting back to our traditional way of producing and consuming food.
There is a lot of science behind the word organic and it is applicable in its own way to each field. For example, in dairy, a product is considered organic not just if the milk or milk products are free of antibiotics or hormones; also the cows should be fed with grass that is free of pesticides, fertilizers and GM seeds. For agricultural produce to be organic, the plants should not be treated with synthetic plant protection chemicals, sewage sludge or radiation. There are a variety of organic products available in the market ranging from baby foods, staples, breakfast cereals, soups etc.
Basics of organic farming
The organic way of producing food is much beyond not choosing to use synthetic plant protection chemicals, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones. It is a holistic approach wherein the productivity is optimized by using various communities within the agriculture ecosystems such as soil organisms and livestock. The main objective of organic farming is sustainability and harmony with the environment. Nevertheless, the inclination of consumers towards organic products is majorly to avoid health issues incurred due to the use of chemical fertilizers.
Key components of organic farming
- It uses organic matter instead of chemicals to enrich soil. This organic matter could be of plant or animal origin.
- It conserves soil for many years
- Crop rotation helps organic farmers preserve the soil quality and avoid monoculture
- Organic farming creates varied niches for organisms that act as natural foes of plant pests
- Weed control in organic farming is done by special techniques and machinery instead of chemical based weedicides
Is there any difference between organic and 100% organic?
Yes. A product is considered 100% organic when all its ingredients are organic and is completely processed organically. On the other hand, it is called organic when 95% or more of its ingredients are organic with the remaining being approved chemical additives. If 70% to 90% of a products ingredients are organic, it is labeled made with organic ingredients. There are some products with below 70% organic ingredients and labeled so.
Advantages of organic farming
The advantages of organic farming can be discussed in both consumer and producer perspectives. The organic produce is of superior quality in terms of vitamin and mineral content. This function in turn results in higher sugar content of fruits and vegetables and a better taste. Since it is not loaded with toxic chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, it is considered healthy. Organic foods can be stored for longer periods of time than those that are grown conventionally. Organically grown crops are naturally devoid of diseases and pests. Above everything organic farming ensures sustainability by protecting environmental
Disadvantages of organic farming
Organic produce costs more since the yield from a land is not as much as what farmers produce through the conventional methods. Also, the production cost is high since a lot of labor and time are involved. There exists a lot of gap in distributing and marketing organic products. Novel sustainable strategies should be applied in order to cater to the needs of the growing population.
Online Course in Organic farming and Food Production at James Lind Institute
To learn more about organic farming, enroll yourself in the online course Professional diploma in Organic farming and food Production which was being launched at James Lind Institute. This course acquaints you with various aspects of organic farming, including soil fertility, crop agronomy, role of animal health and nutrition in organic farming and environmental impacts along with a broad overview of sustainable agriculture and food security in African countries. The globally accredited and industry-specific training fine tunes your skills to match the needs of the ever-growing market. James Lind Institute will soon be launching online training programs in agribusiness. For more details, please visitwww.jliedu.com