Over the past few years organic food has started to build a larger and significant niche in the food market. The primary aim of organic farming is to create human and environment friendly agro-ecosystem that is beneficial to both the human race and the land used in general. This technique is mainly characterized by the use of biological control methods, green manure and unique cultivation methods with the goal of improving and maintaining soil productivity, decreasing pollution, promoting the health of livestock, maintaining vital qualities of products, etc. However, while this form of agriculture is a viable and profitable alternative farming method, it comes with numerous challenges as we will see later in this article.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Farming
As with everything in life, there is always good and bad as nothing is ever completely perfect. Here are some of the advantages of using organic farming as an alternative method of traditional techniques.
The nutritional value of food we eat is mainly a function of the minerals and vitamins it contains. In this view, food that is organically grown is significantly higher in mineral and vitamin content than that grown using contemporary methods of farming. This is because it promotes the life of the soil allowing the plants access to soil nutrients. The result is healthy plants, which means better nourishment to both human and animals alike.
Organic farming limits or entirely eliminates the use of synthetic pesticides and other ingrained plant growth regulators reducing the exposure to ailments. Actually, this is the main benefit to consumers of organically grown food. Various studies have indicated an upward trend in the incidence of diseases related to exposure of toxic chemicals in industrialized civilizations.
-Organic Food Keeps Longer and Tastes Better
Food that is organically grown is normally nourished naturally; meaning that the metabolic and structural veracity of their cellular structure is superior to those conventionally grown. As a result organic foods can stored for longer without showing the latter’s susceptibility to rapid mold and rotting.
Additionally, organically grown food tastes better than the conventionally grown food. This is mainly because sugar content in fruits is a function of the nutrition that the plant itself has had access to.
-Lower Input Costs
Organic farming is largely characterized by increased profits through use of green manure and leguminous crop rotation and minimized water use, lower costs on energy and fertilizers, and enhanced retention of topsoil. This, in addition, to the increasing demand for organically grown food makes this method of farming a profitable option for farmers.
-Increased Drought Tolerance
Organically grown plants are more drought tolerant since use of fertilizers is not allowed. Fertilizer-fed plants contain soluble salts in their cells. These salts usually impede the ability of the plant to uptake enough water to maintain secure dilution. This increases salt content which results in death of plants.
-Enhanced Soil Nourishment
Organic farming is a form of agriculture that efficiently addresses soil management. Farming technique such crop rotation and intercropping, and broad use of green manure provide micro-nutrients to soil that has been damaged by erosion and salinity. Absence of chemicals ensures that the population of microbes in the soil is not compromised.
In spite of the advantages presented by organic farming, there are also a number of disadvantages associated with this method of farming:
Organic farming produces much less yield compared to the conventional or industrialized method of farming. This is because industrialized agriculture is characterized by massive use of synthetic inputs and machinery. However, this method negatively affects the land diminishing its soil life to a point where the soil is no longer able to convert the available organic matter into soil fertility.
Organic farming requires the farmer to have greater understanding of his crops and is needed to keep a close watch on them because there are no quick remedies involved, such as use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. More often, the farmer is unable to meet all the laborious requirements and the skill to carry out organic farming.
In order to execute the comprehensive techniques and methods, it requires one to spend significant amount of time and energy on his or her farm. This method of farming is essentially more labor intensive compared to the industrialized method of farming. For instance, the farmer has to execute timely involvement and organic weed control.
Overall, in spite of the numerous pros and cons associated with organic farming, more profit is earned in places where this method of farming is executed. Additionally, there may be great benefit to the soil which produces great sustainability in the long run. The market keeps growing in the area of organic food with more consumers leaning towards the healthiest possible choices for their family’s diet which in turn leads to greater demand. At this point this method may lag behind traditional methods but it seems to slowly closing the gap one field at a time.