Organic Cultivation is a type of farming that does not involve usage of chemicals like chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In recent years, organic agriculture has gained considerable importance. Major shift has been observed in the farming culture, due to which several farmers have begun practicing this traditional method of cultivation. The reason being, organic cultivation is proven as the means to produce safe foodstuffs and preserve the environment. But even today, numerous small farmers have been practicing organic farming, but are unable to reap its benefits.
The spices and other food stuffs produced from this type of farming are certainly without any harmful ingredients. We, at Sunrise Spices practice this type of farming to product best quality spices.
How is Organic Cultivation different from General Cultivation?
Multitudes of benefits are associated with the organic cultivation. Beside being one of the traditional methods of farming, this type of cultivation is also considered to be better than the general cultivation. Many facts are associated with this conclusion, one being the organic fertilizers are carbon based compounds that increase the productivity of plants.
The organic cultivation have various benefits over general cultivation, some of which are underlined below :
Non-toxic spices : By using organic fertilizers in our farming unit, the spices produced are free of harmful chemicals. As a result, end-consumers who use these spices in their food items will be less prone to diseases such as cancer, heart stroke and skin disorders, as compared to those who consume the spices produced using chemical fertilizers.
Fertility of soil : Organic cultivation ensures that the farms remain fertile for years. On the contrary, the practice of general or inorganic farming has resulted in infertility of the land, forcing many farmers to increase the chemical fertilizer inputs or leave farming.
Safe environment : Organic fertilizers are easily bio-degradable and do not cause environmental pollution, but chemical fertilizers contaminate land and water. Moreover, the usage of chemical fertilizers can cause varying diseases in human beings and extinction of a number of plant, animal and insect species.
Organic Cultivation Process
Organic cultivation involves distinct aspects apart from the addition of organic fertilizers and pesticides. We, at Sunrise Spices adopt distinct steps to cultivate the spices plant.
The varying steps are underlined below :
Maintaining the quality of soil:Apart from varying inorganic particles, formed from sedimentation of the rock, the soil constitutes organic matter, both living and dead. Moreover, numerous microorganisms are also present in soil, which are essential for the spice plant's healthy growth.
Testing the quality of soil: To maintain a healthy soil, we, at Sunrise Spices first test the quality of soil in our in-house soil testing laboratory.
Adding essential nutrients: Thereafter, appropriate nutrients are added in the soil. These nutrients are essential for the spice plant growth. Organic fertilizers are added in the cultivation as per the testing done in the soil testing laboratory. Inorganic nutrients such as lava sand, basalt, etc., are also added, at times. Apart from these, several other organic matter such as molasses or dried grass is added to maintain moisture in the soil.
Tilling: Machine tilling is done on the soil after performing the aforementioned steps. At time, hand spade is also used for this purpose, as it retains the soil structure. Ï Sowing: After these steps, organic seeds for sowing are used in our spice cultivation.
Controlling pests and diseases:The pests and diseases are controlled in the organic cultivation by using organic fungicides, insecticides, and pesticides. Pests are controlled with the help of trap crops and the bugs are controlled with the help of frogs, toads, etc.
Controlling the weeds:Organic herbicides are used by us for controlling weeds. The weeds are also controlled by mulching process, which is piling up organic matter such as dry grass and leaves on the soil surface. This practice suppresses the growth of weeds.
Benefits of Organic Cultivation
High premium:Spices produced from organic cultivation are premium in quality that the conventional spices.
Low investment:Organic farming does not involve heavy capital investment as required in chemical farming. The yearly costs incurred by practicing this type of farming are also low. Further most of the small farmers are dependent on natural rain for water.
Less dependence on money lenders:The practicer of this form of cultivation are less dependent on the money lenders. As compared to the chemical inputs, which are very costly, the organic fertilizers do not require huge investment.
Synergy with life forms:Organic farming involves synergy with various life forms like plant and animals. With greater understanding of this synergy, it becomes easier for the farmers to implement these farming methods.
Traditional knowledge:This types of farming requires abundance of traditional knowledge, which the farmers are well aware of. Moreover, in case of organic farming, the dependence on chemical know-how is not at all required.
Trends of Organic Cultivation
Organic Cultivation has become one of the popular methods of farming, in the recent times. This trend is exhibited from the world wide demand of the organic spices and other food products.
World demand for Organic Foods
The global demand for organically produced spices and other food products is growing rapidly in developed countries like Europe, USA, Japan and Australia. Worldwide, food trends are changing with the increasing health concern. As organic foods & spices are free from chemical contaminants, the demand for these products is steadily increasing to a great extent.
According to the ITC, UNCTAD/GAT, more than 130 countries are engrossed in certified organic foods cultivation, out of which 100 are from Asia and Africa. Internationally, a shift towards traditional / ethnic medicines is an essential factor contributing to the growth of organic cultivation. Since spices form part of many medicines, the demand for organically produced spices is also increasing.
Initiatives taken by Spice Board of India for promoting the production and export of organic spices have widely affected the overall cultivation of the spices in India.
The Indian Initiative.Export of organic spices from India started long ago. India, at present exports around 50 tonnes of different varieties of organic spices. Exports of spices have been significantly increased due to the major shift of farming practices to organic methods.
Spices Board India has prepared a comprehensive document on production of organic spices. It includes the organic concepts, principles, basic standards, production guidelines, documentation, inspection and certification related to production methods.
Research programs on organic cultivation form the important part in spice production. The research work is carried out at the Spices Board's Indian Cardamon Research Institute at ldukki district in Kerala.
Organic Cultivation has numerous benefits. According to a research conducted by the Office of Evaluation and Studies (OE), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), this type of cultivation has many benefits over other forms of cultivation.Some of the benefits of Organic Cultivation are underlined below: