Campaign for transforming Kottayam District to a ‘100% Literacy District in Organic Farming’
Organic Farming is a unique living system which ensures harmony between human beings and nature. It upholds holistic agro-eco system including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity through natural means. It relies on organic fertilizers and pesticides, instead of chemical based products. Besides promoting crop rotation and mixed cropping, it integrates animal husbandry and animal manure. It also strives to conserve native flora and fauna and preclude genetic manipulations.
Organic farming is significant in terms of agronomic practices, integration of animal husbandry in the process, scale of farms, and methods of access to markets. Sustainable crop production practices can lead to higher yields over time, with less need for expensive and environmentally damaging inputs. Organic Farming focuses on sustainable, environmentally friendly practices, ensuring ecological balance naturally.
Kerala faces two serious issues: shortage in production of vegetables and fruits, and chemical contamination. With high levels of literacy, Keralites have been increasingly moving away from farming and purchasing almost everything from the markets. But there is no guarantee about the safety of vegetables and fruits available in the markets.
Under these circumstances, the Centre has realised that a campaign for sensitising the spread of organic farming is the best alternative to avoid the ill effects of chemical farming. Accordingly, the Centre has envisaged a yearlong programme for transforming Kottayam District as a ‘100% Organic Farming Literacy District’.
As per the definition of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study team on organic farming “organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection”.
Listed below reasons for organic farming!
Wide use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture has contaminated food, soil, water and other vegetation. Toxicity of the pesticides affects non target plants and other organisms too. They are also harmful to pollinators of food crops like honeybees. Reports published by the Research Centres of Union and State Governments have identified presence of pesticide residues in food grains, fruits and vegetables. The level of micro nutrients in the soil grown edibles has diminished, besides its natural taste and flavor. Chemical based agriculture accounts for polluting farmland and environment downstream.
According to the National Academy of Science, low level exposure to pesticide may result in neurologic and behavioral imbalances in human beings. Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancer, and decrease fertility. Some of the pesticides can cause headaches, nausea, and coordination problems.
Rapid environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources are results of unsustainable consumption, which have led to adverse impact on well being of humanity and Earth. Eroding biodiversity, desertification, climate change and disruption of a number of natural cycles have disrupted the ecosystem. Organic Farming is the first step towards establishing harmonious living with environment.
Farming is part of every culture. Many of the traditional agro food species have become extinct along with the eco-friendly agricultural practices, with the advent of the modern agriculture. Conservation of the yester year food variants and the culture are on the priority list of organic farming.
JAIVAM, Campaign for transforming Kottayam District to a ‘100% Literacy District in Organic Farming’ attempts to bring together the vast scholarship on emerging trends in organic farming and the traditional wealth of knowledge in the area. Sustainable agriculture which lies at the heart of organic farming forms an equally important theme of the conference.
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