Organic Farming: Characteristics, Initiatives, Benefits [UPSC Notes]

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : June 9th, 2022

Organic Farming is a method of farming that supports cultivating the land and growing crops in natural ways. The aim of organic farming is the keep the soil healthy by using organic wastes such as animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes, biofertilizers, and other biological products that provide enough nutrients to the crops and promote an eco-friendly environment.

A big step toward organic farming was the initiative to lower to use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that cause damage to the environment. Organic farming shows that there is no need to use chemical-rich products when you can get better crops with biological fertilizers or by using the organic method.

Organic farming not only helps to produce healthy foods, and nutrient-filled products, but also it repairs, maintains, and improves the ecological balance. This topic is a part of the UPSC syllabus and following our Organic Farming UPSC notes would help the candidates with the questions asked by UPSC from this section. We will cover complete information on organic farming below.

Table of Content

What is Organic Farming?

Organic farming is an agricultural system that uses organic fertilizers such as green manure, compost manure, bone meal, etc., and gives emphasis on the techniques such as companion planting and crop rotation.

  • This system of agriculture production combines biodiversity with healthy practices that lead to preserving natural resources. Organic farming is expected to become INR 75000 crore market by 2025. 

Characteristics of Organic Farming

Go through the details below to understand the Characteristics of Organic Farming in India in detail.

  • Protecting the fertility of soils by providing organic matter levels, boosting soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention.
  • Providing nutrients to the crop indirectly by using relatively insoluble organic sources.
  • disease, weed, and pest control depend majorly on the natural predators, crop rotations, organic manuring, diversity, limited thermal, resistant varieties, and chemical, and biological intervention.
  • Conservation of natural habitats and wildlife, and giving careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the environment.
  • Meeting nitrogen self-sufficiency by using biological nitrogen fixation, legumes, and also effective recycling of the organic materials.

Components of Organic Farming

Following are the components of organic farming

  • Selection of variety
  • Manage soil health
  • Water management
  • Maintain genetic diversity
  • Weed management
  • Pest and disease management
  • Livestock management
  • Nutrient management

Types of Organic Farming

There are two types of organic farming namely- Integrated organic farming and pure organic farming.

  1. Integrated organic farming includes the combination of nutrients management and pest management to achieve ecological demands and requirements.
  2. Pure organic farming is avoiding all the unnatural chemicals. In this process, all fertilizers and pesticides are obtained from only natural sources such as blood meal and bone meal.

Organic Farming in India

Below mentioned are the Initiatives to Promote Organic Farming by the Government

  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD)
    • MOVCD or Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region is a central sector scheme, and it is a sub-mission under the NMSA (National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture)
    • Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare launched the MOVCED in 2015 for the implementation in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland, and Tripura,
    • The aim of this scheme was to enhance certified organic production in a value chain model which will establish a link between the growers and consumers to promote the development of the entire value chain.
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)
  • PKVY was launched in 2015 and it was an elaborated component of the SHM or Soil Health Management of the major project NMSA (National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture).
  • The aim of PKCY is to promote the adoption of organic villages by cluster approach and the PSG (Participatory Guarantee System) certification.
  • Agri-export Policy 2018- Organic farming in India has been positively impacted by focusing on the cluster and marking and promotion of “Produce of India”
  • Zero Budget Natural Farming- this method of chemical-free agriculture draws from the traditional practices to Indian practices.
  • PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME)
  • This scheme was launched by the Ministry of Food Processing and Industries (MoFPI) as a part of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
  • The aim of PM FME is to bring the new technology and affordable credit that would help the small entrepreneurs to penetrate new markets.
  • One District- One Product (ODOP)
  • The aim of ODOP is to encourage more visibility and sale of the indigenous and specialized crafts/products of Uttar Pradesh, which would lead to employment opportunities at the district level.
  • To bring the economics of scale for the small and marginal farmers, the presence of aggregators is imperative.
  • Certification Schemes
  • FSSAI- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is a food regulator in the country. FSSAI is responsible for regulating organic food in the market and imports.
  • Participatory Guarantee System (PGS)) is a process of certifying organic products. PGS ensures the production of organic products takes place according to the laid-down quality standards.
  • NPOP or National Program for Organic Production grants organic farming certification through a process of 3rd party certification for export.
  • The Soil Health Card Scheme has resulted in a decline of 8-10% in the use of chemical fertilizers, and also enhanced productivity by 5.6%.

Latest on Organic Farming in India

  • India ranks 1st in the number of organic farmers and 9th in terms of area under organic farming.
  • In 2016 Sikkim became India's first fully organic state.
  • The major organic exports from India are sesame, flax seeds, medicinal plants, tea, soybean, rice, and pulses
  • North East India is already promoting organic farming in India and here the use of chemicals is far less compared to the rest of the country. The tribal and island territories are also practicing organic farming
  • In 2018-2019, there was an increase of almost 50% in organic exports that touched Rs 5151 crore.
  • The demand for organic foods is increasing, and due to this, the exports from Mizoram, Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland, to USA, UK, Eswatini, and Italy have increased volumes.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Organic Farming in India

Let’s take a look at some imperative reasons why organic farming needs to be encouraged in India.

  • Sustainable agriculture method
  • The rise in Agriculture productivity
  • Employment generation
  • Healthy organic food
  • Favor eco-tourism in some areas

Challenges to Organic Farming in India

Following are the challenges faced when it comes to Organic Farming in India.

  • Lack of awareness
  • Inadequate infrastructure and marketing problems
  • High input cost
  • Shortage of Biomass

Advantages of Organic Farming

There are several benefits of organic farming. Some of them are mentioned below. 

  • Economical- with organic farming farmers can reduce their cost of production as they don’t need to buy expensive chemicals so there is no extra expense.
  • Return on Investment- the ROI is great because farmers use cheaper and local inputs to get the output.
  • Nutritional- organic products have more nutrients as compared to the foods that are produced with chemicals, fertilizer, and utilized products.
  • High demand- currently the market has a huge demand for organic products in India and also globally.
  • Environment friendly- it is one of the best advantages of organic farming. Organic faming includes the usage of organic products so it does not harm the environment. It supports wildlife, especially in low lands.

Disadvantages of Organic Farming

Know more about the disadvantages and limitations of organic farming

  • Organic foods are expensive because the farmers don’t get as much output as the conventional farmers do, and that’s why organic foods cost 40% more.
  • The quantity of organic foods produced is low so the marketing and distribution are not efficient.
  • Organic products have a shorter shelf life and have more flaws than that chemical products.
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure and marketing of the products.

Need for Organic Farming

The population in India is increasing day by date and we have to stabilize the agricultural production and increase it further in a sustainable way. The natural balance needs to be restored for the existence of property and life and therefore the need of organic farming rises. 

  • The agrochemicals are not renewable and their availability is decreasing which can cost our foreign exchange in the future.
  • More demand for organic foods due to the food safety

Organic farming in India is not a new concept and for a long time, farmers have been using organic residues, composts, cow dung, etc. organic farming is the answer to achieving food security and improving nutrition.

  • With time, the popularity of organic farming is rapidly increasing and due to this farmers will soon see their rightful place in the global trade.
  • New campaigns are highlighting the benefits of organic farming against the conventional system which would further boost the demand for organic farming. 

Organic Farming UPSC

Organic farming is included in the UPSC Syllabus. Candidates who are preparing for both UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains must go through this topic thoroughly to learn the facts, government initiatives, and other related things to organic farming. Candidates can follow UPSC NCERT Books, or other UPSC Books to make notes, and have a proper understanding of organic farming in India. Organic Farming UPSC notes are imperative for the UPSC Exam preparation, and candidates must bookmark this page to get adequate information on organic farming.

Organic Farming UPSC Notes PDF

Candidates can bookmark this page to get the notes to answer the questions from the organic farming section. However to make it easier for the candidates to learn we have prepared a PDF file containing the above-mentioned organic farming UPSC notes. Candidates can download this PDF file directly from the link given below.

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FAQs on Organic Farming UPSC

  • Sikkim is India's first fully organic state. In 2003 Sikkim took the resolution to shift towards organic farming with a motive to stop the usage of chemicals and pesticides in their farming. Due to this Sikkim became the first organic state in the world that received an award from FAO ( Food and Agriculture Organization) in Rome.

  • Organic farming is the method of farming that involves using green manure, biological pest control, etc which are eco-friendly and also enhance the fertility of the soil. In simple language, organic farming stays away from chemical fertilizers and pesticides and aims to increase the fertility of the soil with the use of garbage compost, manure, sewage, food processing wastes, and plant residues.

  • Organic farming is economical as it doesn't require expensive fertilizers, pesticides, or chemicals. As there is no extra expense in the production of organic products the return on investment is great. The demand for organic products is increasing in India and also globally. Products produced from organic farming have high nutritional value and taste. Additionally, organic farming is environment-friendly.

  • There are a few disadvantages when it comes to organic farming. First, the inadequate infrastructure and marketing of products is a major disadvantage. Additionally less production obtained through organic farming, and shorter shelf life of organic products are the major disadvantages. Furthermore, off-season corps are limited and they have fewer options when it comes to organic farming.

  • The usage of chemical fertilizers reduces soil fertility and leads to soil, water, and air pollution. Organic farming, on the other hand, promotes sustainable development and conserves the ecosystem, and is inexpensive farming. In recent years the demand for organic foods due to food safety has increased significantly.

  • There are so many government schemes promoting organic farming namely- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER, Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) under Soil Health Management Scheme, National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP), and National Food Security Mission (NFSM)

  • The components of organic farming include Selection of variety, Managing soil health, Water management, Maintaining genetic diversity, Weed management, Pest and disease management, Livestock management, and Nutrient management. 

  • Candidates can download the organic farming UPSC Notes from Here. It would help the candidates to answer the questions asked from the organic farming section in UPSC Exam.

  • The characteristics of Organic Farming include long-term fertility of soils, soil microorganisms, self-sufficiency in Nitrogen, livestock management, weed, disease, and pest control, and conservation of wildlife and natural habitats.

  • There are majorly two types of organic farming- Integrated organic farming and pure organic farming. Integrated organic farming includes the combination of nutrients management and pest management while pure organic farming is all about avoiding chemical products.

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