It is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a global health crisis that continues to wreak havoc on the global economy. The food and agriculture sectors were not exempted from the damage it brought. While food supplies have been maintained up to the present, measures put in place to contain the virus’ spread disrupted the supply of agro-food products to consumers in various countries around the world. The problems with the supply and demand of food supplies were especially observed in the first two years of the pandemic when strict community lockdown all over the country was implemented. This is because people’s labor is required in agriculture. People are essential in many aspects of farming, from pruning vines to harvesting vegetables. Global travel restrictions and isolation orders have emerged as major issues for farmers. Despite the negative impacts of the COVID-19 virus in agriculture, researchers found that the pandemic has unleashed a revolutionary transformation that has the potential to transform the sector in the long run. One of the innovative benefits that the pandemic popularized is organic farming.
Let us first differentiate organic farming and inorganic farming:
What is Inorganic Farming?
Chemical intervention is highly used in inorganic farming to combat pests and weeds and to provide plant nutrition. Synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are mainly used in this method.
What is Organic Farming?
In contrast to inorganic farming which relies on chemicals to nourish plants, organic farming gears toward natural methods. But take note that organic farming is more than just cultivating plants in natural ways! To achieve this, many aspects of crop and livestock production must be altered, including nutrient management techniques and increased use of integrated pest control. This method utilizes biological materials while avoiding synthetic chemicals in order to preserve the fertility of the soil and ecological balance, consequently reducing pollution and waste. Crop rotation, animal manures, crop residues, green manures, and the biological control of pests are examples of natural methods used in organic farming. These are essential to enhancing plant and herd health because many chemical pest and disease control tools are not apt in sustainable farming. Organic farmers opt to use natural pesticides and fertilizers while discouraging the use of various petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides which can cause harm to the plants and their environment.
Organic farming can be commercially profitable since most consumers nowadays opt for organic food for health and ethical purposes rather than genetically modified foods (GMOs). Aside from its cost-effective and ethical perks, organic farming practices have significant environmental benefits.
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Here are five (5) environmental benefits of organic farming:
1. Combats effect of global warming
Recent research revealed that a healthy organic agriculture system can actually reduce carbon dioxide and support the weakening of climate change. Organic farming reduces the use of nonrenewable energy by reducing the need for agrochemicals which uses high quantities of fossil fuel for their production. This helps to mitigate the greenhouse effect and global warming by storing carbon in the soil.
A lot of organic agriculture management strategies increase the recovery of carbon to the soil, increasing productivity and favoring carbon storage. Several studies have found that organic farming induces soil organic carbon content significantly. The more organic carbon that is retained in the soil, the greater chance to mitigate climate change through agriculture.
2. Stimulates biodiversity
Organic farmers are both good stewards and consumers of biodiversity. Organic farming promotes healthy biodiversity, which influences how resilient a farm is to issues such as adverse weather, pest infestations, and disease. In a broad sense, the greater the biodiversity on a farm, the more sustainable the farm.
Conventional and modified seeds and breeds are favored at the gene level for their increased disease resistance and tenacity to extreme forms. Wide and varied variations of plants and animals augment nutrient and energy cycling for agricultural production at the species level. The preservation of natural spaces within and around organic fields, as well as the lack of chemical inputs, creates conducive habitats for wildlife at the ecosystem level.
3. Forms healthy soil
Healthy soil is absolutely necessary for growing nutritious food. If you use harmful pesticides and chemicals on the soil, you may eventually wind up with soil that cannot survive by itself. Organic farming practices are far superior to chemical soil management.
Crop rotations, intercropping, symbiotic associations, cover crops, organic fertilizers, and minimum tillage are all essential soil construction procedures in organic farming. These promote soil fauna and flora, improving soil formation and structure, and making systems more durable. As a result, nutrient and energy cycling are improved, and the soil’s absorbent attributes for nutrients and water are improved, adjusting for the lack of mineral fertilizers. These management techniques are also essential in preventing soil erosion. The length of time the soil is vulnerable to erosive forces is whittled down, land biodiversity is enhanced, and nutrient losses are significantly lowered, all of which contribute to improving and maintaining soil productivity.
4. Reinforce water conservation
Water scarcity and poor water quality are very serious threats to people’s health and land. When the water supply is jeopardized, both people and the environment suffer. Organic farming also contributes to water conservation. Organic farmers, on average, spend more time amending soil and using manure, which together helps preserve water.
Moreover, contamination of groundwater courses with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a critical challenge in many farmlands. Because their use is precluded in organic agriculture, they are replaced by organic fertilizers (e.g., compost, animal manure, green manure) and increased biodiversity (in terms of cultivated species and permanent vegetation), which improves soil structure and water infiltration. Organic systems with enhanced nutrient retention decrease the risk of groundwater pollution significantly.
An example of this is cultivating cotton, a popular crop, which necessitates extensive irrigation and excess water when grown inorganically. Organic cotton farming, on the other hand, requires less irrigation and thus uses less water.
5. Long-term sustainability
Agricultural science has assumed the responsibility in recent decades of designing systematic solutions to maintaining sufficient food manufacturing capacity for the increasing population while dealing with different environmental conditions. The effort to prevent further increasing the profiteering and deterioration of Earth’s incrementally scarce resources is a notably complicated matter.
This proves that environmental changes have a long-term impact and arise gradually over time. Organic farming considers the impact of agricultural interventions on the agro-ecosystem in the medium and long term. Its goal is to produce food while maintaining an ecological balance to avoid soil fertility and pest problems. A benefit of organic farming takes on a preventive approach rather than simply addressing problems as they arise.
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In the near future, farming practices will require increased innovation and productivity. As a response, promising solutions such as aquaponics, intercropping, and automation integration have surfaced in an effort to facilitate the required increase in production, but they have yet to be assessed on a global scale. Organic farming offers promising benefits not only to provide solutions to health crises but more so to environmental concerns.
Organic farming can be done even within the comfort of your own home. If you are looking for an affordable house and lot or condominium unit that may be suitable to start organic farming, BRIA Homes is one of the best places to look into! BRIA Homes primes itself on developing affordable house and lot packages and easy-on-the-pocket condominium units that cater to ordinary Filipino families who aspire to acquire their own homes. It had become the perfect choice for average Filipino workers who wanted to invest in a high-quality and affordable home.
Written by MC Sanchez