Organic farming and conventional farming are two of the most common methods of producing food around the world. Even though conventional farming is the most popular and widely practiced method, organic farming is gaining more attention these days. People have begun to favor organic food products. But is organic farming really more efficient than conventional farming? Or is conventional farming the system the world needs right now? Through this article, we will try to draw some conclusions on Organic farming vs. Conventional farming to find out which is superior.
What is Organic Farming?
Organic agriculture or farming is the production system that responds to site-specific conditions by assimilating biological, mechanical, and cultural practices that encourage the cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and preserve and conserve biodiversity. Organic farming is practiced in around 187 countries. Approximately 72.3 million hectares of agricultural land were managed organically by more than 3.1 million farmers. The sales of organic produce around the world reached over 106 billion euros in 2019.
Organic farming mainly involves the use of cover crops, natural, green, and animal manures, and crop rotations to fertilize the soil, maintain soil fertility and health, and maximize biological activity. It focuses on the use of biological control and other methods to manage weeds, diseases, insects, and other pests. It emphasizes the agricultural system’s biodiversity and the surrounding environment.
Organic farming also includes the reduction of off-farm and external inputs and doesn’t involve the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and other materials like antibiotics and hormones. It focuses on water and soil conservation, renewable resources, and management practices that maintain, preserve, and restore environmental balance. An organic cropping system consumes about three to four times less energy than conventional farming systems.
Several organic farmers view organic farming as a way to work alongside nature and balance the environment and ecosystem. According to one organic farmer, natural systems like organic agriculture work efficiently if you integrate biodiversity into your system instead of eliminating and destroying it.
Farmers can even incorporate poultry and livestock into organic agriculture. Livestock feed on mixed forages and grasses, which help improve the soil’s structure. Livestock even provides manure to fertilize the soil.
What is Conventional Farming?
Conventional farming or agriculture is generally associated with high-input agriculture, which entails using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. It also includes the use of genetically modified organisms, heavy irrigation, concentrated animal feeding operations, intensive tilling of the land, and concentrated monoculture production.
Conventional farming is also known as industrial framing or traditional farming. It makes use of chemicals to stop the growth of weeds and pests and also to provide artificial nutrition for crops. Conventional farming methods take a huge toll on the ecology and soil. The chemicals used negatively affect the environment by contributing to water and soil pollution, increasing emissions, and more.
In most cases, conventional farmers over-apply resource inputs in an effort to increase crop yields across the entire land. Food products are generally grown as economically as possible, allowing farmers to earn sufficient income and provide crops affordable for everyone.
Conventional farming is generally very energy-intensive and resource-demanding. However, it is also extremely productive. Conventional farming has only been in use since the late nineteenth century, and it became widespread only after World War II.
Organic Farming vs. Conventional Farming
Organic farming and conventional farming are two distinct agricultural practices that are widely debated in today’s world. While conventional farming relies on the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified crops, organic farming focuses on natural processes and methods to promote soil health and crop growth. We have highlighted the key differences between organic farming and conventional farming below, including their respective benefits and drawbacks.
This comprehensive comparison will give you a better understanding of the fundamental differences between organic and conventional farming and help you make informed choices about your food.
Point 1: Organic farming does not have any negative impacts on the soil. The soil quality actually improves due to organic techniques like crop rotation and natural manures. In comparison, conventional farming has several negative impacts on the soil. The quality of the soil gets severely damaged due to the use of artificial chemicals.
Point 2: Organic farming does not use genetically modified organisms. Conventional farming makes use of GMOs to maximize crop yield. They have negative effects on the environment and human health.
Point 3: Organic farming only uses natural fertilizers like animal manure, bone meal, dry leaves and grass, compost, and more, which increase soil fertility. Conventional farming uses artificial chemical fertilizers like sodium nitrate and urea.
Point 4: Organic farming involves the use of natural insect repellents such as neem oil or water, clove oil, marigold flowers, and more. Conventional farming uses harmful chemicals such as DDT and boric acid. It not only eliminates pests but also other non-harmful insects and reduces soil fertility.
Point 5: Organic farming uses sustainable farming methods like mixing crops, crop rotation, and more, which keep the soil healthy. Conventional farming does not use sustainable farming methods as more focus is on crop yield and not on soil quality.
Point 6: Organic farming prioritizes food quality, and organic farmers aim to produce nutritious and healthy food. Conventional farming does not prioritize food quality, and the food produced is not nutritious. It only prioritizes food quantity.
Point 7: Organic farming does not impact the environment; it only has a sustainable impact. Conventional farming has a negative impact on the environment.
In the debate of organic farming vs. conventional farming, by looking at the above differences, which do you think is superior?
What Did We Conclude?
The advantages of organic farming outweigh conventional farming by a long shot. As mentioned before, organic farming aims to maintain soil fertility, provide healthy and nutritious food to people, protect the health of the environment and humans, and open the way for a sustainable means of agriculture.
Organic farming does not only focus on producing large amounts of food and earning profits as conventional farming does. It focuses on maintaining the overall health of the world- which includes humans, animals, insects, plants, soil, water, and air.
With an increased focus on health and environmental sustainability, it’s important to understand the advantages and limitations of both approaches and make informed decisions about what we eat and how it’s produced.
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