Is Organic Farming Sustainable & Profitable?

One of the key ways in which industrial agriculture has survived for so long inspite of being the root cause of such problems is by fear. Backed by manufacturers and big names in the industry, it instils a sense of fear in the common man that what he produces naturally is never going to be enough for his land and his people.

This fear helps to create the illusion that perhaps commercial farming is the only answer that will give high yields and greater profits. But this image is far removed from the truth. In fact, organic farming is not only sustainable, it is also much superiors to industrial farming. Let us have a look how –

The first focus of any man in business is profit. One may be misled to believe that industrial farming is giving them higher profits and the figures may also tell you the same story. But here is what most of us do not consider – they also come with high inputs.

So organic farming with its above average output is more profitable in the long run because the input costs are so minimal. On the other hand, a lion’s share of the high profit margin of industrial farming is eaten away by inputs like fertilisers, pesticides, oil etc thereby leaving substantially less in the hands of the farmer.

Another lie that we have been made to believe is that industrial farming alone can give us high yields. However, researches show that over a 3 year time period of conversion, organic yields were the same as industrial yields. This means that the organic yields would only increase with the passage of time – a fact that becomes clearer when the statistics is noted that in 57 countries over the world, there has been a 79% increased agricultural productivity through organic farming.

Organic farming also seems to be blamed for not being able to create as many employment opportunities as commercial farming. Since a large number of people are involved in the process, it seems like commercial farming would have the potential to create several jobs. But we tend to forget that this also means less personalised care and attention leading to an inferior crop quality.

Organic farming is far better for soil health because unlike commercial farming, they do not take the help of synthetic fertilisers to maintain soil health. This means that their system is strong and does not kill the microbial life over a period of time, causing them to have better soil integrity.

Since nature can never be predictable, climatic changes affect the health of the crop. It has been found in general that organic crops survive climatic changes like droughts much better than the ones loaded with fertilizers, even after them being a drought resistant variety.

The point is that we must understand that the illusion that organic farming is incapable of feeding the whole world is just that – an illusion. It is an artificial picture that has been created to cater to the profit needs of big business. But how much do we – the common man, benefit from it?

The fact that today we spend just about 10% on food and close to a whopping 17% on healthcare should help us find and answer and make us realize how sustainable commercial farming is for our health and for our nature.

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