India Follows the Organic Route

Coriander powder-horzOrganic produce in India is gaining more devout followers with health consciousness on the rise. The online and retail presence of stores that carry chemical-free produce has been slowly but surely been increasing. The increasing demand is not only from the local markets but also from international markets.

Tracing the rise of the organic movement

TechSci Research conducted a study called “India Organic Food Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2017”, according to which the Indian organic food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 19% between 2012 and 2017.

Growing food without chemicals

The term organic immediately rings up rupee signs in the mind. The association with cost is attributed to the extensive, meticulous and labor intensive process of agriculture without the use of chemicals at any stage. The land used for such farming should be certified and the certification process is long and tedious. With 4.2 million hectares of farm land certified for organic use, India is well on its way to becoming a giant in the global organic market.

The price of good health

Supporters of organic produce claim that the benefits of eating chemical free food will foster good health. The relative high cost is definitely a consideration that cannot be overlooked. The cost and health considerations are definitely contributors to the growth of the market in metropolitan cities like Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai.

India set to outsource farming land?

International contracts for organic farming maybe the next step given the ready availability of land in India. The European, Japanese and US markets are on the lookout for cheaper organic produce as the farming and labor is expensive and fertile land is not easily available locally.

Karan Chechi, research director at TechSci Research, a global management consulting firm, was quoted as saying, “The availability of different types of organic products, less dependency on chemical fertilizers, increasing government initiatives for promoting organic farming and increasing investments by corporate giants are likely to push the market for organic foods in India.”

The study conducted by TechSci investigates the future potential of the organic market in India through statistics, industry behavior trends and information on market structure. The study also includes demand forecasting and organic food market projections. The study is a good starting point for investors and business owners as it aids the decision making process.

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Benefits of Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is the systematic way of deciding what to plant in your organic vegetable garden year after year. It is also beneficial for organic farmers who grow crops on large scale. The goal of crop rotation is to manage the fertility of the soil and reduce problems related to insects and pests.

Soil Fertility

Different crops have different nutritional requirements. The soil balance also gets affected differently with different crops. Some crops like tomatoes or corn will drain the soil quickly out of nitrogen and phosphorus. So if you plant the same crop in the same location year after year, that plot of soil will run out of natural nitrogen and phosphorus. If you change the location each year, you can get the previous spot rejuvenated and thereby maintaining the overall balance of your soil. The general rule is to avoid planting similar variety of crop at the same location year after year. It is advisable to occasionally plant nitrogen fixing legumes and other leafy or fruiting crops before you plant nitrogen-draining crops.

Pest Prevention

Crop rotation is also beneficial in fighting certain kinds of pests and other diseases. Crops from the same family tend to attract similar kinds of pests and diseases whereas if you keep rotating the crop, you are avoiding the chances of the pests and diseases to grow stronger and multiply. It is always better to leave at least a year or two before you plant the same kind of vegetable or crop at the same location. Plant families are easily susceptible to pests and diseases.

 

Soil Biodiversity, Land Management and Climate Change

How do you get the most out of soil? How do you maximize the health and fertility of soil? How do you save the planet from the much dreaded climate change and global warming?

Apparently there is a very simple yet crucial world which we have overlooked in our rush to create more and more profit. Beneath our feet, there are numerous organisms which we don’t even bother to see most of the time. They are the little elves who liberate nitrogen for plant growth and lock up carbon in the soil and in general supporting and nourishing the life on this planet.

Researches from the University of Manchester and Lancaster prove that the one surefire

way is by maintaining the soil biodiversity. They suggest that one might consider the entire community of living organisms in the soil which makes the soil food webs in order to maintain the diversity of soil. The organisms in the soil will also aid in predicting the climate change impacts on ecosystems.

The researchers examines the soil life in about 60 sites across four countries, the UK, Sweden, Greece and the Czech Republic and studied the food webs present which played a significant part in maintaining the nutrient cycles in agricultural soil. These organisms involved in the food webs usually spend their entire life cycles or at least parts of it while interacting with substances such as carbon and nitrogen. The study summarizes that there is a solid link between the soil organisms and the way the ecosystem functions.

This is the first time researchers have taken an interest in looking at the entire community of organisms cohabiting in the soil. The study concluded that the organisms found in the soil help capture carbon dioxide, resulting in reducing global warming and controlling climate change. This is a phenomenal finding if we consider the increased troubles we imagine in terms of global warming and climate change.