Low yields, high costs stop India from embracing organic agriculture

Credit: Bayer CropScience
Credit: Bayer CropScience

Nearly 25 years ago, an event held at the American Center Auditorium in Chennai on the topic of the Green Revolution witnessed a lively debate on the merits and demerits of organic farming and “conventional farming,” a euphemism for chemical-based cultivation practices which came into vogue in the country in the mid-1960s.

Despite the passage of time and the concept of organic farming gradually taking root in the country, the core characteristics of the debate do not seem to have changed. Farmers constantly discuss whether the idea makes sense from the point of view of economic dividends.

“It is utopian to think that organic farming could completely replace chemical farming. It is only one of several technologies available to the farming community …. You cannot do agriculture without chemical fertilizers,” asserts C. Ramasamy, who was the Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) from 2002 to 2008 ….

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Madhu Ramakrishnan, a farmer with 50 acres in Narikkalpathy village, [says] the government [should] support farmers for at least the first three years after they migrate to organic farming …. as low yield is expected during this period …. the organic certification process ….. involves registration, inspection, review, evaluation and issuance of certificate. “Each process involves a good amount of manpower and dedicated work,” says [K.K. Krishanmurthi, president, Indian Society for Certification of Organic Products.]

Read full, original article: Why organic farming is yet to bear fruit

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