Is Organic Farming / Natural Farming practical?

organic-farming

#141

dear all,

thanks lot for sharing about natural farming. our farm is in Central kerala, kottayam where we have naturally managed farm with nutmeg and rubber plantation. in our nutmeg cultivation is a mixed with regular varities of bananas, mahagani, jack frut tree, mango tree…etc mix of some domestic trees. in summer we put some organic cover (green lives) in teh bed of the bottom and once in year or two years we put cowdung or bone meal. no other fertiliser or chemicals. before 4-5yrs we used to put chemical fertilisers but since last 4 yrs completely stopped and gradually yeild is increasing. few trees fell dows by funges in roots do not know whats the reason. however after these organic way of farming which was not intentionally yeild become resistent to pests as well as hot summer. no watering done in summer but still no large scale harms…

regarding rubber plantation also we just put cow dung or bone meal nothing more… since have not recorded daily yield unable to present the yied figures …yes but true and fact our trees are not felling down even in highest of wind where some near by areas witnessed wide spread fellings.


#142

Excellent post! I like the last paragraph:
"Avoid them at all costs. I am not saying all inputs in the market are bad, of course there are good ones, but they come at a price; and at the price they come at, they are not value for money, especially branded inputs available in the market. Suppose you buy a branded input worth Rs.100/- , the value it may give to your farm cannot be beyond Rs.35/-, always remember the manufacturer will make a 100 – 200% profit and apart from that the freight charges and tax. Would you choose  to buy your raw material paying a premium and allow it to eat into your profits  or would you like to source it locally, that is have it in-house? Always prepare your own inputs; never think of buying anything, especially branded stuff"
Well Said.


#143

we  have been advisors  to corporate tea  plantations engaged in organic tea cultivation and export to japan since a  decade. We find nuyers from japancoming all the way visiting every nook and corner of  tea plantations of 6000 acres  and also making detailed inspection of tea processing factories[3 in number which have also been organic certified by leading agencies] and even rejecting consignments which were not organically grown.
Mind you it takes seven years to convert non organic tea to organic tea
[2] Our sister organisations being in export certification in europe we find european union member countries rejecting consignments on account of pesticide residue ,and related issues during inspection
Therefore organic  farming had become global requirement for japan europe ,US  etc  which has now become multimillion dollar industry


#144

The proponents of Natural Farming, et al make a lot of claims which are more of opinions rather than fact.
Maybe even this statement is.

But my amazement is regarding the credulity of the general public that is ready to agree with any untested claim so long as it is analogous or emphatic to their general world-view. Nobody, or rather very few think for themselves and subject the claim to scientific method and enquiry. ???  ???

Natural Farming is a claim in point. Has anybody done empirical studies to show that the yields are better than in conventional farming. Over the short term and over the long term. Has any research been done by comparing control field lots with applied field lots? I would appreciate receiving some literature on this matter.

For example, the role that earthworms play in the soil has been researched empirically, with scientists tabulating the number of earthworms, soil porosity,etc. Has natural farming done something similar?

Again, natural farming is touted as the panacea for all farming issues and many proponents claim that its tenets were followed by our ancestors. The same thing is touted for ayurveda, unani, etc. How come famine and pestilence scoured ancient India and death rates and infant mortality was supra 8% figures, until allopathy, hygiene, green revolution, etc came along?

I think anybody can safely say that if Dr Swaminathan, Dr Borlaug, etc had not developed high yielding rice and wheat varieties, we would not have been born today or if we were, then seriously malnourished. Thank God our rulers did not go for organic or natural or spiritual farming.


#145

Dear Le,
If you comment with proofs on your claims than it will be good.
Why can’t you prove that you r claims are true and correct?


#146

Hmmmm.

This topic is getting interesting…

Let’s have the views from both the sides flowing freely.

Regards

Murali 


#147

Interesting writing here.

shiraadiz.com/blog/agricultu … ience.html


#148

Hi Le,

Everybody has a choice to pursue what they want whether it is Chemical Farming, Organic Farming, Natural Farming and so on and so forth.  Did you know that Punjab farmers has the highest incident of Cancer (because of chemical farming)?  Do you know that DDS (Deccan Development Society) has helped several farmers in AP to abandon chemical farming and pursue organic farming in a larger extent? Please refer to LEISA.

Dr.Swaminathan was responsible for the Green Revolution.  But do you know the current thought process of Dr.Swaminathan?  Please read articles related to this in “The Hindu”.

I agree with you on allopathy curing many diseases but the same problem like what you have mentioned existed in England centuries ago and they too died of those diseases.  The British did not help our local ayurveda, unani etc to improve for over 300 years and hence there is a gap.  Do you know that ayurveda is being used by USSR after the nuclear explosion?  Do you know that Turmeric Tablets are recommended for cancer patients (even in US)?

Overall, there are good and bad in everything.  You take the best from everywhere and leave the rest.

Regards
Padmanabhan
agricultureforeverybody.blogspot.com


#149

You are right. Everybody has a right to pursue anything they want. My argument is not about that.

It is about the implied claim by some members that natural farming is the best option in many ways, especially environment wise. Well, if natural farming is about doing nothing and merely let nature take its course, then I have nothing to argue.

But who wants or agrees with nature taking its course. Even in natural farming, bio-agents are introduced to eliminate unwanted pests or to enhance desirable traits. The vast majority ( here I am prepared to go out on a limb ), wants to profit from agriculture. Even when they say it is a way of life for them, I am sure they will not be content, if nature send a hurricane, locusts, flood or drought and destroys their crops, thus destroying their means of sustenance.

Man cannot live idly by when nature takes its course. If it were so, then we would still be living in caves and wearing animal skins. But, like many posters, I am guilty of taking my argument to its extreme logical absurdity.

All of mans civilizational activities have been simply a contest against nature and himself. The invention of agriculture is a result of the taming of rivers by canals, aqueducts, etc the development of agricultural implements, the harnessing of animals to do heavy farm work, etc. Dont tell me that these activities are “with” nature or with nature’s consent. How much ever we may like to think of our ancient ancestors living in splendid resonance with nature, the truth is actually quite bitter. I dont need to recount statistics here, any proper source will tell you of the miserable living conditions, quality of life, life expectancy, etc. of ancient times. We only think of certain examples like say Ashoka. But when doing so we ignore the remaining people who lived in his time and do not identify with them. For sure Ashoka must have had a great life and lived long. But then he had all the resources at his command. What about the others under him?

So before quoting natural farming as a panacea, let us empirically test it to see whether it can redeem its reputation. 

Also, my point in my post was not so much about the claims of natural farming, but about our own credulity. Somebody in one of the posts advised against fads like emu farming, teak plantations, etc. I think natural farming should be taken the same way until it is proved like hydrid seeds to be vastly superior.

Dear Padmanabhan,

Endosulfan is causing child deformity and various problems in Kerala and Karnataka. Does that mean we stop using pesticide or we stop using endosulfan? Same thing in punjab. Do we know whether rise in cancer patients is due to chemical farming (??) or due to any other factor? Even if it is, do we stop using chemicals altogether or investigate further till we find which chemicals are culpable and ban those? Further, if we banned chemical farming (this is a new term, the meaning quite obvious but highly unappreciative of the fact that this type of farming has made famines a part of India’s past) do we stop using say for eg, humic acid?

I haven’t read the recent views of Dr Swaminathan. But your imply that they have changed. Well, tell me objectively about natural farming and I too will change my views.

Indeed the best test about any hypotheses is whether people will put their money where their mouth is. So let us take the case of the majority of India’s farmers. Do they vouch for natural farming or chemical farming? Let us not consider those for whom agricultural income is not a primary income, but just a secondary source if any. Continuing in this fashion, let us consider plantation companies. Do any of them set store by natural farming? The answer to these questions will be the decider.

The British did not help ayurveda, unani, etc because they themselves were subject to many epidemics and plagues. Cholera and smallpox killed hundreds of Britishers, even as allopathy was being developed in Europe. Allopathy is a recent phenomena, maybe only a few hundred years old. But in this span of time, it has eradicated smallpox from the world, reduced pandemics like cholera, typhoid, diphtheria , etc into manageable cases. The benefits of allopathy and public hygiene are too self-evident to be enumerated here. can Ayurveda ever emulate this? Btw, the use of turmeric in USofA cancer patients is not because ayurveda claims turmeric as a therapy for cancer. It is because allopathic researchers have found that cur-cumin, the active ingredient has beneficial properties. The cur-cumin can come from anywhere, not necessarily turmeric.

You are right when you say there is good and bad in everything. But the good and bad should not be a matter of faith or because somebody said so sometime somewhere. The good and the bad should be discerned by sound reasoning, judgement and application of scientific rigour and temper.


#150

As Padmanabhan said each to his own.Nobody is peddling natural farming as a product.If you believe in it after doing your homework on it you can practice it.If you dont, you can go your own way.Nobody is trying to convince anybody.Lnowledge is shared and it is upto you to decide its value.
  As for historical times if the only example you can think of is Ashoka then  I think you need to read some more history.If your attitude is “What i don’t know doesn’t exist” then you wont learn much.Read,do your homework,evaluate and do what you feel is right.That is what most of us who believe in natural farming are trying to do.
As for over simplifying the term “natural farming”, nobody is trying to say it is everything left totally to nature.The act of farming itself is human intervention.The only totally natural existence would be a hunter gatherer existence, if you want to take terms literally.
What we generally refer to as natural farming is generally a pesticide ,chemical fertiliser free farming where we entrust natural processes to work for us and we shape nature to work and produce for us.
                                                                    Regards,
                                                                      Yaj.


#151

Dear Mr.Le,

I do like your contrarian approach and opinion to the natural farming.

If i have to sum up your thoughts ,modern green revolution supported farming is right because majority are following.Ifso…

Majority of people like lot of easy things,  but that does n’t mean thats the right way to do it.
For example…
Corruption… majority of people support it until they become a victim of some others corruption.It has given them enough money ,rather more than enough money by not leading right life.So can we say Corruption is the best way of life as it has given them best material benefits?

In our mob’O Cracy,where mob determines if a black animal is cow or Buffalo or pig by their vote (which is available for purchase) . We are forced upon lot of things based on our convenience but not on facts.

in your discussion you mentioned Ashoka had more resources and hence he need not be quoted, but even in todays world only survivors are who has more resources i.e.Rich  and the chemical farming is forcing small farmers to commit suicides as they cant afford these at affordable prices.At least natural farming is going to help them avoid  buying those expensive chemicals.

All these swaminathans green revolution didn’t give more disposable income to the farmer as the green revolution didn’t answer the support prices and so despite producing food for world farmer remained at the mercy of same old resourceful Families.

in my opinion ,your views on chemical farming is not so well supported.

By any chance are you the same person (Rajju D. Shroff of United phspherous)who was on Amirkhan’s Satyamev jayathe… who is supporting farming with modern warfare.

Thanks,
Sreeram


#152

Hi All,

Lets not run down Mr Le. He has a point to make. More so on the scientific bent of mind of our folk and our ability to adhere to logic, reason and act on that.

Well our scientists do pooja before launch of satellite and other things.  I had seen this personally during my stint, before missiles are test fired, the whole bunch of so called scientists from DRDO breaking coconuts in front of Missile. And Prasad from Puri Jagantha is distributed.  So is with ISRO guys. And we see it all around us every where. This is a fact and lets not deny that. And the hilarious thing is what we do before eclipse. Now I know some one will come with cosmic rays etc. But what for Lunar Eclipse ??

We all know what was the population, when we got independence and what it is now. 30Cr to 110 Cr. Whether poor or rich, the population multiplied, only because, if not every one, most had access to food. Forget about the other gadgets which we are seeing only now and other comforts. But increase in population steadily can only be attributed to good health and food.

What Mr Le says is right. Lets put the facts straight.  How many of us would take the risk of not getting our small kids vaccinated for Small pox, polio etc or not heading to an hospital for other sickness. If the guy collapses and EEG says something is wrong, do we give him some untested concoctions  of some herbs ? Do we do that saying I will go Ayurvedic way ? We all know there is no cure for such things in Ayurveda. Why even for a snake bite, we had to take the anti venom. Lets not forget that Is was Dr Ronald Ross who found that what causes Malaria and how to cure it. It was the common form of death in Western Ghats and in other parts of India.

Mr Le is simply saying that do what you want to do, by putting logic, reasoning and researched things into it, instead of simply parroting what other gurus say.

Regards

Murali


#153

Murali,
We all know the benefits of modern science and mdeicine and we really dont need anybody to point out obvious facts. I am a doctor trained in the allopathic system of medicine and a surgeon so I know the pros and cons of the system only too well.
  There is a way of putting forward a point and ridiculing things you do not believe in or do not understand is not very constructive.
  I am an agnostic but I see nothin g wrong in the ISRO guys doing poojas before launches etc.It is more a cultural thing and a question of faith.Do they expect the rockets to fly on faith alone ? Of course not ,they are some of the best minds in our country and I bet they can teach us plenty when it comes to science so we should be more circumspect when ridiculing them.
  Modern medicine has a high regard for ayurveda and indeed there are many ayurvedic procedures which have become part of allopathy ,Shushruta and Charak are highly regarded and revered surgeons and physicians and their treatises/manuscripts are studied by modern surgeons and physicians even  nowShoshruta was doing rhinoplasties suturing etc before anybody else had even dreamt of them.These things became possible in modern medicine only in the 20 th century.
Criticising these ancients systems from which we are still learning such a lot(check out all the patents being filed  on ayurvedic herbs used for centuries) is only a sign of our ignorance.
                                                                                        Yaj.


#154

I think you should learn some facts too.Ronald Ross may have discovered the organism causing malaria but there were cures for the disease long before him.The Peruvian Quechua were using the cinchona bark containing quinine to cure malaria centuries before.The modern quinine is a synthesised form of the same and is still the most effective drug against even resistant cases of malaria. As for deaths, do you know how numerous are the deaths of malaria patients treated by allopathy even now?
As for vaccines, who is following the herd here? Do you know that the efficacy of many of the vaccines is not wholly proven? Do you know the numerous side effects caused by vaccination? I have only vaccinated my kids according to the old WHO schedule but even some of that was because i was part of the herd too( like most doctors I know).I refuse to give the numerous new anti viral  vaccines that are cropping up hyped by greedy MNC drug companies. Given a choice now I would not even give the basic vaccinations now (  This is my opinion and not advice for anyone to follow). BCG does not prevent tuberculosis as all our numerous vaccinated  TB patients are testimony to, do we need a vaccine for diptheria,whooping cough(once feared but now treatable by simply and cheap antibiotics) against the small chance that we may contract the disease. MMR(Measles ,mumps,rubella) also doesn’t prevent the disease though it is claimed that it reduces the severity(dodgy claim) ,all three are self limiting diseases and only the complications have to be watched out for(treatable by antibiotics and again not prevented by vaccines). I couls go on and on but I suggest you google the topic and read about it.
                                                                                Yaj.


#155

Le,
If your arguments are true and correct then why can’t you come up with obtained results on your arguments? If you have the proofs to depend your statement, please come up and don’t comment without any base to your points.

If Vastu is not good, then which is good? Present architecture? You know life span of present constructions. Can you assure at least for 50 years? Take count of ancient Temples, buildings  constructed with Vastu rules living for centuries withstand for further more time.

You know claptrap people are begging with ancient technics to cure their problems. You go and check in the same konkan area forests that who has gone there to cultivate delicious fruits and crops  created by nature. Are you bigger then nature produced fruits which are nothing but medicine for people like you? Has your green revolution done something for it?  Human being is poppet in front of the nature be note, if not why tsunami was not stopped by people like you and why you scientific people are not granted rains at once in at least 15 days with your scientific tricks when our country is and was suffering with shortage of rains and drought effect? Do you have any formula for enhancing a human life about 100+ years?

You claim-The proponents of Natural Farming, et al make a lot of claims which are more of opinions rather than fact.
Maybe even this statement is.

Now what is your claim against Natural Farming? Which farm practice you are advocating? How good is your farming practice for which you are advocating? Will you may not effected with the consumption of contaminated food products provided by green revolution.

Your claim-But my amazement is regarding the credulity of the general public that is ready to agree with any untested claim so long as it is analogous or emphatic to their general world-view. Nobody, or rather very few think for themselves and subject the claim to scientific method and enquiry.   

Which is your technology proved with scientific method? How you scientifically inquired about Natural Farming? What is the base of your quire? Have you practically cultivated any crop in your method to oppose the Natural Farming? If yes, then come up with results and proofs.

Natural Farming is a claim in point. Has anybody done empirical studies to show that the yields are better than in conventional farming. Over the short term and over the long term. Has any research been done by comparing control field lots with applied field lots? I would appreciate receiving some literature on this matter.

You are not sure that which is true and correct how you can comment blindly. You should complete empirical study to know yields of both farming methods before writing here. I can teach lessons about how better the natural farming practice is better than green revolution for not only human being but also for the mother earth and its nature.

I growing my food with natural way and My tamarind trees are more than 100 year old giving great fruits with shelf life. I growing Papaya from past three years and still it is giving very tasteful fruits where in my neighboring farmer grown the said papaya with chemical farming and ended up within 20 months with huge loss and my papaya plants are still giving healthy fruits which was taste by few members of this forum. (Dear Hegde you can comment on the taste and shelf life of those fruits and vegetables you tasted on last month) Has any crop which is of the contribution of green revolution and still it is giving healthy produce?

You claim-For example, the role that earthworms play in the soil has been researched empirically, with scientists tabulating the number of earthworms, soil porosity,etc. Has natural farming done something similar?

What are the results of scientific research? It is proved that Local earthworms can do great work for enhancing soil fertility as well as increasing agriculture productivity.

Your claim-Again, natural farming is touted as the panacea for all farming issues and many proponents claim that its tenets were followed by our ancestors. The same thing is touted for ayurveda, unani, etc. How come famine and pestilence scoured ancient India and death rates and infant mortality was supra 8% figures, until allopathy, hygiene, green revolution, etc came along?

Are you personally cultivating  to arrive that your farming method is true and correct? Without you doing practical experiment, how can you comment on other farming method, which you do not know completely. What is your expertise about allopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, hygiene and green revolution? What is the life expectancy now? Can you guarantee of 100 years? I can prove that people born before your green revolution were lived more than 100 years with their pure life style and with the strength of the food they consumed? 

Your claim-I think anybody can safely say that if Dr Swaminathan, Dr Borlaug, etc had not developed high yielding rice and wheat varieties, we would not have been born today or if we were, then seriously malnourished. Thank God our rulers did not go for organic or natural or spiritual farming.

Yes, they developed and same technology was resulted like storm and now it is flat & utterly failed to maintain the same productivity. Now green revolution is utter flap show and it has lost its charm as all agri products grown through chemical farming is contaminated with pesticides and poisons chemicals and people are losing their health. Whatever vegetables and food products eating now is nothing but poison. Soils of chemical farming land soils are became very dear to all deceases by losing resistance power in the soil to cope up with any possible defects. Are you sure that no one is malnourished? If yes then what and where is the data? A knowledgeable farmer is better than any one in the universe not only for agriculture but to safe gourd this universe.

People are more to racing on storms of myths and their whims and fancies to come and ditch with rock solid system which was withstanded for centuries to provide healthy life enjoyed by our elders and finally disappear in front of the eyes of whom you are opposing.


#156

Lets be specific who are you referring to and what claims you are talking about. 

I am inspired by Fukuoka San who practiced it for 30+ years and then preached.  Raju Titus and quite few people who practice it themselves and help others understand.  Subash Palekar who teaches certain variant of Natural Farming and have lots of followers.

Appreciate your sincerity :slight_smile:

may be true, didn’t the large majority fall for chemical farming?.  I fail to understand why there is large majority who does not follow principles of natural farming.

You may want to read the beginning of the thread where cowheard puts his thought.  I am not sure if Natural farming has as much of literature like other farming methods,  probably no multi-national company is going to be benefited by it, so its not that surprising you will find it hard to find any literature. 

You could certainly read Fukuoka’s books, may be people on the forum are farmers and also from other profession like Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Teachers and IT folks etc who also love agriculture and practice it.  So, these people may not be interested in providing these facts. But, Fukuoka was a scientist specialized in plat pathology and his work probably help you understand it better.

You may also want to read about permaculture of  Bill Mollison and Sepp Holzer, though these are not really Natural Farming,  it certainly helps to appreciate principles of Natural Farming.

May be Subash Palekar’s books will help you in getting this info.  I remember Chandra adding doc that compares some study on chemical fertilizers and Pachagavya.

What bothers you about this claim?

Don’t we have incurable disease now?

Why all this discussions, do you want to practice any sort of farming? or are you already following any method which is better than Natural Farming or Organic farming?

Btw, if this is only for the sake of argument, i quit.


#157

nice discussion, good to see different contrasting opinions and exchange of views

although there is a thin line between passion and fanaticism, just a friendly observation so lets keep the ideas and views flowing and not let zeal mislead the tone

cheers
brijesh


#158

All, i need to tell this even if it sound little off topic.

I was driving back from Tirupati with my family and my friends, when i reach Mulabagilu, i recall our Dear Swamy stays here, i call him, as usual Swamy is in very good mood and suggest me to visit a temple nearby, he is not at his farm, he is working on his project about 100+ km away.  I visit the temple and my daughter enjoys feeding the fishes in the nearby pond.  Swamy calls me back and we have person with a huge bag waiting for us.

This bag is full of vegetables and fruits,  all organic,  all of us share it ( we were 6 friends and my family).  Each and every one who tasted these fruits and vegetables said that it was heavenly.

Thanks a ton Swamyji, i really appreciate your gesture.  Those were some of finest papaya i have ever tasted.


#159

Well said, let us also respect the intelligence and knowledge of everyone else and avoid words as “touted” and “credulity”.

Cheers,
Chandra


#160

Just another example of modern marvel…

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/worl … 125408.cms

I am not disputing that modern medicine has given solution to many issues succesfully…

Just like every thing ,there is a bit of flaw in every thing.Its upto the individual to choose what works best for them.

some best of the minds choose alternative approaches in many things .kevinmd.com/blog/2011/10/alt … -jobs.html

Thanks