Manual for Organic Farming: A Comprehensive Guide To Start And Run An Organic Farm (HB)
About this eBook
Use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture enhances yields but also undermines the quality of life through possible contamination of soil, water and air and even the final products that retain their residues. Organic farming is gaining gradual momentum across the world. It is now being practiced in almost 160 countries in the world. Around 37 million ha land is being managed organically by more than 700,000 farms and 1.6 million producer world over. Growing awareness of health and environmental issues in agriculture has demanded production of organic food emerging as an attractive source of rural income generation. The varied agro climatic condition of India offers great opportunities for cultivation of a whole range of cereals, spices, fruits, vegetables, plantation crops, flowers and herbs. India, being a low chemical fertilizer consuming country especially in the rain-fed area, North Eastern and other hilly states, and India has good opportunity to take a production of organic food for export and domestic use. North Eastern states have remarkable advantages of fertile and organically rich soils, ample rainfall and water resources, river valleys, swamps and streams and great climatic diversity supporting diverse cropping possibilities. However, considering the hill ecology, its abundance of difficult to get fertile tracts of land, its tribal customs of land tenure, its economic strength in terms of livestock ownership and limitations of terrain and irrigation, organic farming seems as a promising avenue to development. Farmers of this region commonly follow mixed farming, which is ideally suited and fits well. An analysis of National Sample Survey Organization's survey data on cultivation practices shows that the North East hill states have retained traditional practices and show an inclination towards organic agriculture that can be harnessed for the development of the region with ecological benefits.
When young progressive farmer ask today what their chances are, I tell them that times are tougher, but they can still "make it" if they follow the basic principles laid down in this manual. My suggestion is as old-fashioned as the plow come to the land prepared to live simply, work hard, be creative about your marketing, and your venture will thrive. But relying on local markets is too risky for most would-be small-scale farmers today. They need to go beyond the local market. Ironically, while marketing farm product is the nemesis of the small scale farmer, it is also his salvation. Innovative marketing ploys are the answer, and I discuss them in the chapters having to do with different crops. The present Organic Farming Manual is a comprehensive guide to growing and marketing organic produce like grains, fruits, vegetables, livestock, poultry and aquaculture. Since North Eastern Region and other selected areas have the biggest potential to produce edible mushrooms and growing of variety of orchids, their cultivation practices are also described in this guidebook. Beginning farmers committed to launching an organic operation and experienced farmers hoping to transition from traditional farming techniques will find all the information they need. The present manual would certainly be useful as reference guidelines for organic practitioners as well as officials dealing organic agriculture. I would greatly appreciate the submission of comments or supplemental information on new developments for the future edition. I wish you fruitful reading.