Introduction to How to Start Organic Farming in India: Organic farming entails growing vegetables without the use of artificial pesticides or other chemicals. For the purpose of fertilising the soil, this method of farming uses manure, animal manure generated from animal husbandry, goat manure, manure, green manure, etc. There are no negative effects on the ecosystem or human health when using organic systems.
The primary goal of organic cultivation in India is to establish environmentally responsible businesses. Crop rotations, the use of crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, bio-fertilizers, mechanical cultivation, and some biological control techniques are all used in organic systems to sustain soil productivity and manage insects, weeds, and other pests. Farmers, managers, academics, decision-makers, and of course consumers are all becoming more interested in the growth of organic farming in the nation. Most people believe that organic food items are healthier and safer than those made by conventional farming. Additionally, organic farming contributes to soil health restoration, environmental protection, biodiversity enhancement, crop yield sustainability, and increased farmer income. We also discussed the following issues regarding organic gardening in India in this article:
- What organic farming is and what are its major advantages
- Is Indian organic gardening profitable?
- Detailed instructions on how to begin organic gardening
- Things to consider before opening an organic farm company
- the significance of sustainable farming
Is organic cultivation a successful industry?
How To Start Organic Farming In India: A Step-by-Step Guide, Cost of Organic Farming, and Programs in India
In India, organic farming is an agrarian approach that focuses primarily on using organic food sources and reducing the amount of synthetic chemicals. This involves not using growth hormones in any way, which reduces soil corruption and contamination. In India, organic gardening is becoming more and more prevalent. The main techniques used in organic farming include crop rotation, biological insect control, green manures and compost, and mechanical cultivation.
What Is Organic Farming in India?
When crops are grown naturally, growth regulators, synthetic fertilisers, and pesticides are generally avoided. Through the use of organic wastes, which release crop nutrients for increased production, it seeks to cultivate the land and promote good health.
The expansion of the organic agricultural industry is caused by:
- Its advantages for the ecosystem and for health
- improved circle of agriculture,
- decreased shipments of foreign fertilisers and pesticides, as well as
growth in the creation of jobs
India’s promotion of organic farming
The use of synthetic inputs is generally prohibited in organic farming, which relies instead on crop rotation, crop residues, animal manures, and a biological system for nutrient mobilisation and plant defence. Following production, the food we ingest is healthier and is then completely fresh and natural.
The following tenets form the foundation for the certification of organic goods.
- Standards for organic produce and processing must be established.
- It is necessary to validate the production of these stands.
- Only products that are determined to meet the established standards may bear the organic designation.
In order to produce plants, organic farming only uses natural ingredients free of any synthetic inputs. In comparison to mass production using artificial additives, organic farming produces healthier produce, and consumers contend that because bio-based materials are used, organic food actually tastes better. Eliminating synthetic substances reduces pollution while also preserving the sensitive ecological equilibrium of grassland ecosystems and soil fertility.
The top 3 regions with the highest percentage of organic farmers are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra. With 0.76 million hectares of cultivable farmland, Madhya Pradesh leads the way in organic cultivation.
Important Features of Organic Gardening
Organic farming’s primary traits include:
- Protecting the long-term soil fertility involves promoting soil biological activity, keeping organic matter levels, and using careful mechanical intervention.
- using insoluble nutrient sources that are made accessible to the plant by soil microorganisms to indirectly supply crop nutrients
- Legumes can be used to produce enough nitrogen on their own, and they can be recycled efficiently, along with crop residues.
- Crop rotations, organic manuring, some resistant types, and chemical intervention are used to manage weeds, diseases, and pests.
- Numerous problems with livestock administration, including those related to nutrition, health, housing, breeding, and rearing animals
Pay close attention to how the system affects the larger world as well.
Benefits of Sustainable Agriculture
- By lowering pollution levels, organic farming contributes to the preservation of natural health.
- By lowering the amount of leftovers in the product, it lowers the risks to human and animal health.
- Compared to conventional farming, organic crops are more better in terms of structure and metabolism.
- Compared to conventional farming, organic farming has considerably lower input costs.
- Plants that are grown organically are better able to withstand drought and can even flourish in locations without sufficient irrigation systems.
- Through scientific agricultural rotation and other techniques, plant diseases, weeds, and pests are naturally repelled or discouraged in organic farming.
- The same plot of ground produces more crops.
- Both stable income and high rates of return on investment are guaranteed.
- Crops grown organically are less vulnerable to flooding and dry spells.
- Natural crop rotation is used in organic cultivation to deter pests, weeds, and plant diseases.
- Additionally, organic cultivation enhances soil health.
- Organic farming enhances the water-holding ability and soil properties.
- It enhances the soil’s chemical properties by increasing the availability and retention of soil nutrients, decreasing nutrient loss to the atmosphere and water bodies, and fostering beneficial chemical reactions.
Suggestions for Getting the Soil Ready for Organic Farming
Enhancing the nutrients in the earth is the goal of organic farming. Good crop yields must be ensured through effective control of soil nutrients, soil structure, and soil biology. The primary support of organic systems is healthy soil. A fertile soil will support an active biotic community that helps the soil withstand environmental degradation while also supplying important plant nutrients.
The organic farming method is much more challenging than conventional farming because you must prepare the soil and create your own natural fertilisers and pesticides.
The following are the most important considerations for land preparation:
- Utilize nutrient-rich compost and bovine dung to improve the soil (to make your compost, order this kit)
- After planting vegetables, keep an eye out for weeds and pests. It is challenging to recoup after an infestation has occurred.
- Take daily care of yourself. watering with a solution of bovine dung and organic fertilisers, etc.
- To keep pests out of fields, hang yellow or blue boards with castor oil on them.
- Choose plants that require less water and more sunshine, such as tomatoes, beans, and climbers.
Give priority to plants in loose soil that are more susceptible to infection.
Soil management is the main organic agricultural technique in India. Soil loses nutrients and its fertiliser after the cultivation procedure. A soil management system is the process by which soil is replenished with all required nutrients. It raises land fertility using organic techniques. It makes use of bacteria found in animal waste, and these bacteria help the soil become more fertile and useful.
The key components of organic farming practices—crop rotation, intercropping, symbiotic relationships, cover crops, organic fertilisers, and minimal tillage—are those that create soil. Such management techniques are crucial for preventing soil runoff.
Follow the steps listed below to commence organic farming:
Step 1 : Purchase an organic certification
One of the crucial stages in beginning an organic farm is getting the certification. If you don’t already own land, you can always lease land or, if your budget allows it, purchase it to practise organic farming.
The following list includes the goals for obtaining organic certification:
- Produce from organic cultivation has begun to be exported to other businesses.
- Domestic demand for organic food led to the beginning of organic farming.
Step 2: choosing a location for organic farming
Any business venture’s performance is heavily influenced by its location. The success of your organic farming venture in India depends on the region. Since clean water is the most essential resource for crop growth and health, the organic farming location should be near to a source of it.
It is much more difficult to manage irrigation practises in organic farming if your water source is far distant. This may seem like a boring thought to have as an initiation, but it is essential for productive work on your farm. The proximity of the organic growing region to the business district enhances the farm’s ability to be managed. The proximity of the organic farm to the market allows for simple selling contact. Additionally, it saves money on shipping supplies to the property.
Any venture that wants to succeed must have an effective website. The location of an organic property affects how the business operates. Make sure the farm’s proximity to the market enables simple transportation of goods for sale. Additionally, this primarily lowers the expense of delivering materials to the farm. The importance of the aforementioned variables may decrease if the organic farm is not being used for commercial purposes, and the size of the organic farm is also determined by its purpose.
Step 3: Organize the dirt and create quality compost.
Most people regard soil to be the organic farmer’s fundamental building block. Everything, beginning with its appearance, wellbeing, and equalisation, is in charge of the production outcome. Therefore, it basically becomes crucial to understand when and how to improve your soil and create the best environment for harvests to endure and thrive.
To give your plants the necessary nutrients to develop healthily, organic farming requires healthy soils. A healthy soil environment is the foundation for all excellent organic farm produce. Inorganic soil treatments run the risk of harming the environment, the crops that are grown there, and the people who will ultimately consume the food. Compost, grass and foliage clippings, manure, and other essential components are all mixed together to make good soil. In general, producers gain from making their compost on-site. It is very simple to prepare and is very cost-effective. Main benefits of compost include weed control, refuse containment, and water conservation. When starting organic farming, this stage is essential.
Step 4: Choose an appropriate variety.
Only a small number of crops can be grown organically, doing so produces lower yields, and managing pests and diseases without chemical spray is challenging. Any product can be grown organically as well. However, it is always recommended to grow the crop according to the location, the soil, and the surrounding environment. Observe what other farmers are producing as you look around. Keep track of market prices frequently and select the product that will bring in a decent price and allow you to make a profit at the end of the season.
To choose the best product, it is crucial to be aware of the local weather patterns and the products that can flourish there. A number of important variables must be taken into account before making this choice. which are
- The health and quality of the produce are determined by the soil’s pH, alkalinity, water retention, nutrient content, and porosity levels.
- the area market’s demand
- Composition and availability of water
- Needed organic ingredients, their price, and accessibility
the required tools and their accessibility
Step 5: Begin searching for markets
You will be in serious trouble if you produce organic crops on your farm and don’t know where to sell them once they are harvested. Not all wholesalers require crops produced organically. As a result, before starting an organic agricultural operation, you need to identify your target market. What market will you offer your organic goods in? It will be simple for you to sell the product after harvesting if you have any kind of concept in this regard.
Step 6: Keep in mind what you put
As opposed to conventional farming, organic farming requires more effort and attention. Depending on the conditions of the farm and the plant, specific techniques must be taken into account. Additionally, not all of the farm’s plants may benefit from the organic growing technique.
Step 7: Managing Water for Organic Gardening
Water is necessary for healthy plant development. Regular watering is essential for crop growth. Depending on the variety, plants need to be watered 2 to 3 times per day. Because mornings are chilly, watering the plant in the morning is beneficial. Another crucial upkeep job in organic farming is weeding.
The primary issue in many agricultural areas is synthetic fertiliser and pesticide pollution of groundwater courses. Through the use of more diverse cultivable species, they are substituted by organic fertilisers. Improved nutrient retention capabilities in organic systems under good management can lessen the danger of groundwater pollution. In some regions where pollution is a serious issue, switching to organic farming is strongly urged as a remedial measure.
Indian Organic Agricultural Methods
The idea of organic cultivation necessitates some practical techniques. The following methods are examples of the typical and accepted ones
Crop rotation refers to switching species year after year on the same area. A fallow phase may also be a part of this agriculture within a specific time frame. Crop rotation will in comparison to monoculture farming methods;
- Additionally, with various root systems, avoids soil erosion.
- prevents soil evaporation, removing the need for synthetic fertiliser applications that are prohibited in organic farming
- increases yields and lowers expenses.
covering crops : This refers to partly or fully covering the field with any plant species for a specific growing season in between the crop rows. With their roots, cover crops combat soil erosion and aeration while also enhancing water filtering. Additionally, they do away with upper-level weeding by shielding undesirable vegetation from sunshine.
Tropical Fertilizers: The earth is enriched with organic materials, particularly nitrogen, when green plants are added to it. Additionally, it raises moisture levels and provides nutrients for microorganisms, enhancing the quality of the soil. Agriculture practises also lessen weed invasion.
There are limitations to the process because the substance has no synthetic additives, the soil must be tested prior to application, and manures must be used for at least three months before harvest. Because they are more compact in volume and contain fewer possible pathogens and contaminants, composed forms are preferred.
Comprehensive Weed Control
Organic cultivation is not allowed to use powerful chemicals. Because of this, integrated weed management techniques like prevention, biological, physical, and societal weed management are used to control weeds.
- preventing weeds from entering the area with irrigation water and machinery
- pruning by hand
- movement of crops
- natural substances to prevent development
- creating hay before plant seeds
introducing bird or insect groups to eat weed seeds, etc.
Startup Expenses for Organic Agriculture in India
You require loans to launch any new agriculture company. Many industries experience trouble getting a loan. not in organic gardening, though. The initial setup expenses are covered by loans from nationalised banks. Farmers can readily apply for loans from the State Bank of India if they have at least 5 acres of land or a certification in organic farming.
Among the characteristics of these debts are :
- minimum of three years.
- A loan of approximately Rs. 1 lakh can be approved with a minimum of 5 acres of property. 40% of this goes towards organic inputs, with the remaining funds going towards instruction.
- The farmer may receive a subsidy up to a limit of 20%.
- The Indian Central Government will offer incentives that lessen the cost of borrowing. As a result, funding organic farming becomes appealing.
Handling of Nutrients in Organic Agriculture
Nutrient management is crucial in organic farming to continuously work to create healthy soil that is rich in organic matter and contains all the nutrients the plants require. To increase soil fertility, a variety of techniques can be used, including green manuring, the adding of manures and biofertilizers, etc. These organic sources not only enrich the soil with various minerals, but also aid in weed control and increase the amount of organic matter available to soil microorganisms. High organic matter soil is less prone to erosion, retains water better, and requires less watering. Additionally, some natural minerals that the crops require to develop and enhance the consistency of the soil can be added. To change the pH of the soil, amendments are applied. However, there should be a minimal amount of heavy metals in water and soil amendment. Numerous organic fertilisers are made from recycled waste by-products from other businesses. Additionally, producers create compost using mushroom compost and animal manures. For crop development in organic farming, some organic fertilisers as well as bacterial and fungal biofertilizers can be used.
Different Types of Organic Manures
Fish manure, oilcake, blood meal, and other organic manures are used in conventional cultivation. They are additionally known as biodegradable nitrogen fertilisers. Bacterial action transforms their organic nitrogen into easily usable ammonia and nitrogen before it is used by the plants.
Green sludge: Green fertiliser primarily promotes a better soil structure and soil richness. They will offer organic matter and an additional dose of nitrogen, especially if you plan to grow vegetables.
Compost: Reducing the Carbon: Nitrogen ratio can sometimes cause new deposits from farm and household residues to accumulate, become saturated, and then transform into aerated deposits.
The leftovers listed below can be used in organic manure:
- crop strakes
- crop byproducts
- nutstalk skin
- Rice shell
- garbage from sugarcane
- faeces and excrement from cattle
- Vegetable and kitchen refuse
Domestic waste (biodegradable)
Pest and Disease Control in Sustainable Agriculture
In organic farming, the presence of pests is anticipated beforehand, and planting schedules and locations are adjusted as much as possible based on the pest presence to prevent severe pest problems. Building up a population of beneficial insects, whose larvae feed off the eggs of pests, is the main tactic used to fight harmful pests. The host crops function as their home base and gradually draw more beneficial insects, which are then periodically released. The use of natural or organically approved insecticides, such as neem pesticides, is done when confronted with a pest outbreak that cannot be controlled by beneficial insects. Low toxicity and low environmental persistence are key requirements for approved organic herbicides. The National Organic Standards largely decide these requirements.
In organic and minimal input production systems, a number of diseases have a significant negative impact on crop yield and quality. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that correct fertility management of crops, including the use of crop rotation and a balanced supply of macro- and micronutrients, increases the resistance of crops to specific diseases. Soil that is healthy and teeming with beneficial organisms is one of the greatest benefits of organic farming. These beneficial bacteria, fungi, and microbes will keep the disease-causing bacteria and fungi in line.
Organic pesticides come from elements that are found in nature. Among them are both biological things, such as the bacterium Bacillus Thuringiensis, and plant products, like pyrethrins or neem oil. Sulfur and copper-based inorganic insecticides are also permitted.
Utilizing parasitoids, such as some wasps, or predatory insects, such as ladybirds, to target insect pests is known as biological control. Last but not least, conventional plant breeding has resulted in a variety of crop types that are resistant to particular pests. Genetic control against pests and a number of plant diseases is provided by the use of such types and the sowing of genetically diverse crops.
Government Programs to Promote Sustainable Agriculture
For organic farmers, the Indian government provides financial investment subsidies. The National Center of Organic Farming (NCOF), which is part of the Department of Agriculture and works with NABARD, primarily provides it. The primary goal is to make organic resources easily accessible for raising farm productivity while preserving ecosystem balance and soil health. There are rewards for decreasing reliance on chemical aids and for promoting the transformation of organic wastes into plant food sources. For organic farmers, credit-linked and back-ended subsidies are offered.
The subsidy for biological fertiliser and pesticide units is roughly 25% of the total project cost, with a cap of INR 40 lakhs per unit. Through various initiatives and programmes like the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)/Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), and Network Project on Organic Farming of the ICAR, the Indian government is supporting organic farming. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Affairs is a part of NMSA that promotes organic farming (National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture). The plan primarily offers financial support for the establishment of composting facilities for agricultural wastes, mechanised fruit and vegetable market wastes, and production facilities for liquid carrier-based biofertilizers and biopesticides.
Different Schemes for Promoting Organic Farming
Through various programmes, the Indian government supports the growth of organic farming throughout the nation.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY): It supports Participatory Guarantee System-certified cluster-based organic farming. This programme supports cluster formation, training, certification, and marketing. An incentive of 62%, or about Rs. 31,000, is given to an organic farmer out of the assistance of Rs. 50,000 per hectare over three years for organic farm inputs.
MOVCDNER (Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region): Through Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), the programme encourages organic farming of specialty crops in the northeast with a focus on exports. For three years, farmers receive financial support for organic inputs in the amount of Rs 25,000 per hectare.
CISS (Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme) under SHM (Soil Health Management): Under this programme, the state government receives 100% assistance for agro waste compost farming units up to a cap of approximately Rs 190 lakh per unit. It provides capital investment assistance up to 33% of the cost cap of Rs. 63 lakh per unit for private organisations and individuals.
Indian Organic Gardening is Profitable
If the appropriate market can be reached, organic farming can be a lucrative endeavour. Profits rise in two ways.
- Organic waste can be used as bio-fertilizer to lower the cost of agricultural input by using crop and animal residue.
- When compared to farms that grow conventional crops, the market value and demand for organic products are strong.