Challenges of Organic Farming in Pakistan

By M. Zubair Amin, Shahla Rashid, Mujahid Ali

(Horticulture, College Of Agriculture, UOS)

The cultivation of vegetables and plant or any other crop without the use of any synthetic fertilizer, pesticide, growth hormone or any other chemical is known as organic farming. The world is progressing so rapidly, and this progress is continuing in every field of life. Like other fields of life, the agriculture is also progressing. But with the advancement in agriculture, the use of fertilizer, pesticide, insecticide and plant growth regulators is more. These are not only producing more crop, increasing yield, producing attractive shapes and colors but also has some side effects like Polluting the environment and agro-ecosystem by negatively affecting the structure of soil, decrease the fertility of soil, increasing the salinity level in soil and Polluting the underground water. On the other hands, human life also affected by using these chemicals. Many diseases originating with the use of chemical-based vegetable.

Synthetic fertilizer increases the yield of the crop but these fertilizers are polluting the environment by different ways like causing global warming, causing water pollution, depleting the nutrient from the soil, causes algal bloom and acidic rains. These fertilizers not only affect the environment but also a human being and other living organisms. Nitrogen in water cause algal bloom which decreases the amount of oxygen in the water and which further leads to the death of marine life. Urea contains nitrogen and plant uptake nitrogen in the form of nitrate and ammonium. These ions when apply to plant and mix with water and leach down into the root zone of the plant. A small amount of these ions carried by the plant and other remaining ions further leach down and mixes with the underground water and make them pollute by increasing the concentration of nitrogen in the soil which adversely affects the marine life and even humane life when humane use this water for drinking or cooking. Urea and other fertilizer cause irritation, poison, higher miscarriage rates in women, damage the lungs and nervous system, respiratory ailments, cardiac disease and several types of cancers.

Organically produce vegetable and fruit are free from disease and chemical so they are not harmful but also healthier for human health and Environment. Organically produce vegetable and fruits are high in cost because they have more amount of mineral and safe. Organic farming is a more sustainable method of farming.

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Different management practices are being used in the organic agriculture. Soil fertility maintained by adopting different techniques like synthetic fertilizers are replaced by the biofertilizer, farmyard manure(FYM), compost, green manuring, mixing the crop residue, crop cycle, legume cropping (those crops which increase the nitrogen fixation in the soil). Insect and pest management also did. Pesticide cause of death of beneficial insects like lady bud betel and a honey bee which is responsible for pollination. Synthetic pesticide and insecticide have a drastic effect on human health and environment and replaced with botanical pesticide and insecticide. Different techniques used to control the attack of insect and pest like biological pest control, the use of predator and parasitoids etc. Organically produced commodities are healthy and less susceptible to diseases. In organic farming, weed control is essential for proper crop management. Use of synthetic weedicide is prohibited in organic farming. But weed can be control by different methods like uprooting by hand, mechanical uprooting, biological control, mulching, crop rotation, mowing &cutting, burning, use of bio-herbicide, use of inter & cover crop.

Poverty is one of the major issues of the whole world. Like another world, Pakistan also facing this problem. Organic farming is an essential tool which we must use in eliminating the poverty because in Pakistan there is a more than 65% person which occupies less than five acres per person land and which is further dividing rapidly. Due to less landholding, it is the best way to adopting organic farming for reducing the poverty. Due to high pricing of inputs like fertilizer, pesticide, growth hormone and other supplements for the crop, it is becoming impossible for a farmer to manage his crop by giving these things to crop. So, the excessive cost of fertilizer can be reduced by adopting the organic farming.

The pricing of organic farming is three times higher than the inorganic farming. In Pakistan, the elite class keen to use the organically grown produce but the middle and third class are not interested because of the high cost of organic produces and due to less knowledge about the benefits of organics produces. One can sell this organic produce into big cities of Pakistan like Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. In these cities, people are highly keen to use organic produce. Instead of this one can sell into hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools, and colleges. Local market self-owned organic shop and online marketing are the best places to sell the organic produces.

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Many countries are involving which are producing the organically produce horticultural crop including vegetable, fruit, flowers or even agronomic crop like sugarcane, cotton, wheat, rice, and oilseed crop etc. Including Pakistan, these are 110 countries which are producing an organically produced crop.

Growing vegetable at home to meet the vegetable requirement of the home member is called Home gardening. To lessen the burden vegetable in big cities this practice is commonly used. Many countries of the world adopt this technique. The fresh and healthy vegetable can get around the year by organic home gardening. Kitchen gardening is becoming a profession in nowadays. These practices are healthy and decrease the dependency of vegetable on the farmer. These vegetables are low in cost, high in quality, free from any diseases or any residual effect of pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer. The organically grown vegetable has long shelf life as compared to inorganic.

The advantages of organic farm produce are: good food for patients, children and old person, high nutritive value, use of renewable resources, low inputs, healthy produce, no use of chemical mean no risk, eco-friendly, sustainable farming, use of waste and recycle things, create employment for landholding and more storage life.

The limitation of the organic production is high pricing of organics produce, more labor required for maintaining the crop, low prices in local market, unavailability of botanical pesticide, less production in early three years, high transportation cost toward big cities, inhibiting the use of genetically modified crop, dependency on animals and lake of skills. So, We are facing challenges regarding its application in Pakistan, we can start it first for restaurants, supermarkets for elite class families and for patients. Then we go for its commercial farming.

Mujahid Ali

I am a PhD scholar in Institute of Horticultural Sciences, UAF and Visiting Lecturer in Horticulture Department in University of Sargodha.

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