A guest editorial: Prof Ravikumar VR
Srilanka’s organic farming crisis would be a great lesson for Indian Policymakers, and farmers.
The decision of Sri Lankan President, G. Rajapaksha to ban chemical farming has resulted in a decrease in yields resulting in a crisis for farmers due to heavy losses.
It is proven that organic farm yields are significantly lower compared to that crops grown with the usage of chemical fertilizers. However, environmentalists are worried about excessive usage of chemical fertilizers, and pesticides which would result in pollution-related problems, the residual effect of chemicals on living beings, disturbance of the eco-system, health ailments of farmers and consumers of food, etc.
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The abrupt stoppage of chemical fertilizers and their negative impact on food production in Srilanka would be a great lesson for Indian Policymakers as well as for common farmers to seriously look into the pros and cons of adopting organic farming in India.
It answers many questions like the economic feasibility of cultivating organically vis-à-vis the application of chemical fertilizers.
Although the prices of organic produce are higher than that of other produce, it has to be carefully calculated based on the yield levels and consumer preference for organic products in Indian consumers.
Presently, the elite urban segment only are opting for organic vegetables, fruits, spices, etc. and the thus larger population is not either fully aware of the good effects of products available in the market or the cost of organic products would discourage them.
Ideally, therefore, the researchers and subsequently policymakers would have to guide the farmers properly by suggesting upgrading the nutrient contents in the soil.
Strengthening certification methods of organic cultivation, supply chain management and reducing the overall cost of organic cultivation, rationalization of the pricing policy of organic produce, etc., are the few steps to be taken.
It is, however, inevitable to increase the cultivation of organic farming as quickly as possible to prevent the adverse impacts on health and the environment.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors.
The Author, Prof Ravikumar VR, is the Founder and President of the Karnataka Management Association (KMA) and Publisher of Agro India Magazine.