The rampant use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers has brought about a decline in soil fertility and crop health across the world. Crops today are more prone to diseases, deficiencies etc. This realization has marked the advent of organic farming globally. Organic foods boast of being residue free and are much costlier than locally available produce. But is organic farming really a new age concept?
The Krishi – Parashara is a salient record proving that the Vedic Aryan were occupationally agriculturists. Importance of their agricultural practices have been linked to economic development in the ancient text Arthashastra. Traditionally, Indian agriculture has heavily relied on Nature’s bounty in boosting soil fertility and crop yield. Like organic farming, Indian farmers have relied only on manure and vermicompost to boost soil fertility. Apart from these, traditional practices of crop rotation, reduced tillage and green composting have also contributed to disease resistance and increased yield.
Uninhibited use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has caused reduced soil microbial diversity and fertility by increasing soil salinity and hampering the pH. In order to restore the natural balance of the soil, measures can be taken such as using organic microbial products tailor made to suit the needs of the soil. Timely analyses of the soil and repair measures could also help in restoring its natural balance.
These measures along with sustainable irrigation methods, arresting soil erosion and increased traditional knowledge sharing can help farmers restore what has been lost and take us back to the golden age of agricultural development. After all, our economy has been built of the backbone of agriculture. It is time for us to look into our rich cultural past, to save the future!