Traditional farming methods practise local knowledge system developed over generations without any external inputs. The ability of humans to adjust and adapt in order to combat hunger and malnutrition led to remarkable changes in modern farming practises which welcomed High Yielding Genetically Modified crop varieties and chemical fertilizers, overexploiting agricultural land resulting in environmental degradation of soil, freshwater, forests and biodiversity. Natural disasters and climatic changes added even more pressure on these resources.
With ever growing population and food insecurity, it’s time to rethink on our options. We need a paradigm shift towards Sustainable Farming at a Global level, which incorporates agriculture system and farming practices that are environmentally sound and socially responsible. In this green farming, farmers avoid using chemical fertilizers and pesticides which significantly reduces cost of production and sustains both the environment and productivity.
“World agriculture: towards 2015/2030”, a report from Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, underlines the crucial role of agriculture in the process of overall national development.
Many Organizations also voice their support to such initiatives. In 2002 Nestlé, Unilever and Danone created the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, an NGO to support sustainable agriculture practices. Australian International Food Security Centre (AIFSC), Center for Sustainable Agriculture (http://csa-india.org/) , Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) are a few among many international Organizations who promote such cause.
India is an agrarian country yet agriculture’s share in India’s economy has been progressively declining. Indebted farmer suicides is also on the rise due to agrarian reasons. Main reason for this can be attributed to natural disasters, genetically modified crops, pricing policies and inadequate marketing facilities.
The Indian Government has taken a slew of measures to tackle such problems and promote green farming by taking initiatives like India’s National Agricultural Policy, National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF),The National Agricultural Research System (NARS) etc. Centre for Sustainable Agriculture named ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) and many Indian organizations work towards this progress.
India still needs a more strategic and aggressive approach towards people-centred rural and agricultural development at an accelerated pace which includes promotion of quality organic and biological inputs, reliable irrigation, agricultural infrastructure, watershed management programs, land planning, developing value chains to reduce marketing costs, new credit and insurance mechanisms to farmers, including the subject in educational curriculum, procurement of bio-fertilizer, biocontrol mechanisms and integration of information technology and biotechnology.
Success also depends on Consumer preferences in welcoming organic farm products. Food buying behaviour and nutritional knowledge plays a crucial role. Certified organic farms, online e-stores and many small farmer sells high quality organic products due to increased demand among consumers. Sustainable farming is one of the best and realistic Planet saving option we got. Let’s use it.
This is a small video showing us about Sustainable Agriculture in India: