We may feel that the wave of sustainable, healthy, anti-chemical farming is new and has been embraced after following western trends. But if we look at India’s history and its agriculture graph, we might be surprised to discover that the country and its farmers have always been quintessentially organically-inclined. Use of plant and animal products for agriculture procedures and pest control was a common phenomenon. That should explain why cows were respected so much and why dung and other bio-fertilizers were in prevalence.
The agriculture, in terms of land, and productivity was prosperous and prolific before the colonialism wave hit India. The farming and rural segment in India suffered a setback after the British arrived and took over the country on many frontiers.
Then with the destruction and scarcity brought by the calamities during the 1950s and 1960s, and the pressures brought by population explosion, the crisis of food scarcity kept growing. Hence, there was a need to increase the country’s food production in a serious and exponential way; as the Government was crumbling under the burden of importing food grains from other nations. There was a dire need of reinstating food security and stability in the agriculture realm in India.
Under the able leadership of M. S. Swaminathan, the country worked towards the Green Revolution in a diligent and comprehensive way. Addressing fragmentation of land, land reforms and import of seeds as well as pesticides were used for redefining the agricultural sector in India. This impacted the fading of natural organic materials for farming in India. Slowly chemicals and pesticides became more commonplace and perceived to be linked with high productivity.
The outcomes of the Green Revolution started becoming visible as the country’s food imports decreased and self-reliance in food production was accomplished gradually but strongly.
With this progress and a growing cognizance of environmental issues that the planet was facing on the whole, we also started noting the repercussions of chemical-intensive farming. Loss of land fertility, an increase in pest immunity levels and expensive dependence on fertilizers started showing its actual impact.
Farmers realised that no matter how costly a fertiliser they used by chemical means, the control of pests would be hard to achieve. Then they started re-looking at historical means used by their forefathers. The growing adoption of healthy lifestyle and readiness to pay for organic produce encouraged this shift and made farmers as well as the agriculture industry more confident about organic farming.
The transition is coming at the right time as farmers face yield problems in a scenario when land degradation is a paramount concern. Everyone, whether it is the producer or the consumer, now wants to gravitate towards what is healthier, more responsible and more sustainable. People are also being driven towards the health appeal of organic food at a large scale. Laws and standards being imposed on food production further bolster this movement towards organic farming.
This revolution is here to stay. More so, as organic food is not only providing a better alternative for production, but also in terms of food stability, control of deforestation, solving soil erosion and in encouraging better land use. Conventional means of farming are making a comeback, and smart consumers are welcoming this new paradigm with healthier lifestyles, prudent choices, and wise shopping habits.