Food Crop Research Department Knowledge
What are the main production differences compared to conventional agriculture?
- Mixed culture: many crops and animals
- The exclusion of most synthetic agrochemicals
- Significant use manual labour and some use of light machinery
- Mainly true varieties/breeds (open pollinated varieties)
- Relatively low input cost
- Land can be converted to organic production iwithin 2 years
What are the health benefits of organic agriculture?
- Increased nutritional value of crops
- Eradication of harmful pesticides from the food chain
- No use of GMOs (prevents potential negative effects of such food consumption)
- Quality food for human consumption is assured due to the certification requirements
- reduce employee health risk due to the exclusion of the use of harmful chemicals
What are the environmental benefits of organic agriculture?
- Reduces erosion
- Promotes biodiversity
- Preservation of water, soil and air quality
- Reduced emissions of green house gasses
- Reduced contamination
- Efficient energy and resource use
- Conservation of genetic diversity
Organic Production Practices:
The soil and soil fertility is viewed as the most important asset on the farm by all organic farmers. Unlike the conventional agricultural practices that has led to significant soil erosion, soil degradation, and loss of soil fertility, organic farmers clearly cherish the soil and take all measures necessary to build, maintain, and increase soil fertility. The soil management practices implemented include: animal manures, crop rotations, green-manures, compost and vermi-compost.
Pest & Disease Control & Management
The methods of pest and disease control utilized on organic farms include: physical, biological, cultural and chemical control (e.g neem extracts) All the above methods are combined in an integrated pest management approach.
Weed Control & Management
Weeds are one of the most severe problems faced by organic farmers in the rainy season. Since weeds compete for nutrients they ultimately reduce crop yields and can be an alternate host for pests. Organic farmers have devised a set of integrated weed management practices that are commonly used by most farmers. These include: the of mulch, cover cropping, the flame blower, intercropping, manual and mechanical control.