Organic agriculture is gaining more and more importance among agricultural producers who are concerned about the consequences of climate change in the world. The organic agriculture model advocates using fertilizers and other 100% natural products, where the well-being of nature and people is just as important as producing food.
Although the prices of such foods may be higher, their nutritional value is higher than that of conventionally grown products and the growing demand for organic products among consumers favors the change to the organic farming method.
Organic agriculture is an agricultural approach that advocates healthy products free of components that can harm humans and nature. Among them are industrial pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, chemical drugs, hormones, growth enhancers, etc.
One of the principles of organic agriculture is to provide food with optimal nutritional value and a minimum of dangerous ingredients, using only permitted substances. Another principle of organic farming is to use 100% natural fodder for livestock and its subsequent processing without synthetic products.
Organic farming techniques involve caring for field workers and aim to maintain a harmonious balance in the environment, keeping it as alive and productive as possible.
Organic agriculture guides its techniques to respond to the four basic premises that reveal its essence: health, ecology, equity, and care. These 4 words that describe organic agriculture are the driving force of the concept, interrelating and strengthening each other. For example, the pesticides allowed and used in organic agriculture preserve the ecology and do not cause secondary effects in living beings, maintaining their health.
These principles govern all stages of the process, including production, processing, delivery, storage, and consumption. No prohibited additives are applied.
The principle of health in organic agriculture recommends avoiding hazardous chemicals, whose poisonous residues have a negative impact on multiple levels, affecting microscopic organisms in the soil, crops, animals, and humans. Healthy soil produces healthy crops, and healthy crops foster a healthy mind in a healthy body, with good immunity, regenerative properties, and freedom from disease.
This principle implies the use of environmentally friendly techniques, such as those that promote soil quality (avoiding depletion, erosion, and degradation) or the elimination of pollution from nature. It also means providing favorable living conditions for all members of the ecosystem, as they are closely interconnected. Ecological practices in organic agriculture maintain the necessary balance and save natural resources, for example, restore soil fertility with non-synthetic materials (green and animal manures), promote recycling, and genetic diversity of the species in the area.
The principle of equity in organic agriculture advocates a decent and respectful attitude towards all the agents involved: farmers, suppliers, traders, and consumers. It promotes adequate working and living conditions and supports people’s needs for a sufficient supply of quality food products.
Equity in organic agriculture also suggests providing adequate feed and environment for livestock that respond to their physiology. Pricing policies must be justified and affordable.
The principle of care in organic agriculture encourages moderate consumption of resources with future generations and nature in mind. Applied agricultural technologies must be thoroughly evaluated for their negative consequences. Caution and proper risk management should guide any decision-making.
Although innovations can be effective, followers of organic agriculture prefer traditional methods consolidated over time. Today, they combine common sense, reliable knowledge, applicable novelties, and indigenous experience dating back to the pre-chemical era.
The concept of organic agriculture requires strict compliance with the standards established in the applicable techniques. Among the most common and accepted are the following:
Crop rotation involves changing species in the same field season after season. This agricultural technique can also include a fallow period within a certain time interval.
This approach to organic farming consists of covering the field, partially or completely, with any plant species between the crop rows, either seasonally or perennially. Cover crops prevent soil erosion, improve water filtration and aeration with their roots. In addition, they remove weeds with the top, by depriving unwanted vegetation of sunlight.
The mixture of green plants with the soil enriches it with organic matter, and nitrogen in particular. It also increases moisture levels and adds nutrients for microorganisms, thus improving soil quality. This organic farming method also reduces weed infestation.
This practice enriches the soil with natural components from animals, either raw or composted (excluding slaughter by-products). However, there are restrictions, as the material must not contain any synthetic additives, the soil must be analyzed before applications and this fertilizer is only allowed at least three months before harvest.
Composted manure is preferable as it is more compact in volume and contains fewer pathogens and potential contaminants.
Heavy agrochemicals are not allowed in organic farming. For this reason, weed control is carried out through other integrated weed management options (prevention, biological, physical, and cultural):
Organic agriculture favors the balance of the ecosystem and preserves natural resources. This approach guarantees the availability and productivity of land in the future. In this sense, it coincides with sustainable agriculture:
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