A Sustainable Approach to the Future
Pakistan is an agricultural country due to its(organic forming) fertile land and four beautiful seasons. These are the blessings of Allah on Pakistan. But as an underdeveloped country and due to conventional farming, agriculture is facing a decline. Due to rigid agriculture policies, many farmers sell their land to real estate companies.
Absentee landlords owned a large part of agricultural land in Pakistan. They don’t work on their grounds and appoint workers for their caretaking. This kind of arrangement hurts the environment. First, these landlords are only interested in maximizing their profits. So, they don’t care whether their actions are damaging the soil and the environment. Second, workers who are employed on these landlord farms get little share of the profit. They are not the owners of the land, so they don’t feel the responsibility for its maintenance and soil health. This leads to soil erosion and over-cropping.
Small landowners own a small portion of land. But they work on the land themselves. In this case, environmental health is being noticed. They care for their farm because they have a sense of ownership and responsibility for its health. However, due to limited resources and a lack of sustainable practices, they cannot reduce environmental degradation like soil erosion, input of excess water, water logging drainage, etc. Even if they invest in environmentally friendly activities, they have to bear the risk that comes with it.
Due to these activities, our food contains health hazards and chemicals like carcinogens and cancer-causing agents. They also pollute water bodies used by humans and cattle for different purposes. So, the solution to these problems is organic farming.
Organic farming is a sustainable agricultural system in which natural fertilizers and pesticides are used to grow crops. This system produces organic and sustainable food, which benefits human health and the environment. That’s why it’s also called ecological farming. Soil quality is also enhanced. Organic farmers have to make a low investment in it.
Organic fertilizers are also known as natural or biological fertilizers. These are derived from natural resources like plants, animals, and microbes. They slowly release nutrients into the soil, preventing nutrient imbalance and runoff. This fertilizer also adds organic matter to the ground, which contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and other beneficial nutrients. Organic matter improves soil quality, water retention, and retention.
Some examples of organic fertilizers are as follows:
- Compost is derived from the decomposition of animal and plant material.
- Manure comprises solid waste from animals like cow dung, etc.
- Bone meal is made up of ground animals’ bones.
- Fish meal is made up of ground sea and ocean fish.
Organic pesticides are natural pesticides used to control pests, insects, weeds, and diseases. They are also known as bio-fertilizers. Like organic fertilizers, these pesticides are obtained from plants, animals, and microorganisms. These pesticides are less toxic for humans and the environment. If these pesticides add up in water bodies, they don’t cause harm to anybody like synthetic pesticides.
The following are the most commonly used pesticides in organic farming:
- Botanical or Natural pesticides are obtained from plants and minerals. Their examples are neem oil, pyrethrins, rotenone, and sabadilla.
- Microbial pesticides are derived from microorganisms or bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Some common microbial pesticides include Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), Spinosad, and Trichogramma wasps.
- Insecticidal or horticultural soap is made from potassium salts of fatty acids. These are used to kill soft-bodied insects such as spider mites and aphids.
- Horticultural or pesticide oil is obtained from refined petroleum and plants. Examples of petroleum-based oils are dormant oil, summer oil, and superior oil. Some common examples of plant-based horticultural oil are neem oil, eucalyptus oil, clove oil, sesame oil, and lemongrass oil.
- Diatomaceous earth is a natural material obtained from diatoms (fossils of aquatic plants). These protect plants from beetles, mites, snails, and worms.
Benefits of organic farming in Pakistan
The agriculture sector is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. However, this sector needs to improve due to old techniques, soil erosion, climate change, and limited resources. So, if we adopt a holistic approach to the organic farming system, it will boom in the agriculture industry and increase the country’s GDP.
The benefit of organic farming on the economy, environment, and people are as follow:
- Increased Farmer Revenue: Organic farming always has a premium price. It will increase farmers’ income. This is especially important in a developing country because farmers, despite their hard work, get a low share of the revenue.
- Reduce Imported Products: in Pakistan, food production is high, but their quality is low due to the conventional farming system. Imported products cost high reserve outflow from Pakistan. This problem can be solved by sustainable agriculture.
- Increase Employment: Pakistan is facing unemployment issues, causing a brain drain in Pakistan. But, organic farming is a sustainable and labour-intensive work that can create jobs in the market.
- Boost the Economy: Pakistan can increase its exports. The agricultural land of Pakistan will also increase, boosting our GDP.
- Decreased Pollution: Pakistan can solve its pollution problem by adopting the organic farming system.
- Reduced Water Usage: organic farming can help to conserve water through crop rotation and cover crops. This will solve the water scarcity problem in Pakistan.
Challenges of organic farming in Pakistan:
There are also challenges faced by organic farmers in Pakistan.
- Lack of awareness: Most farmers in Pakistan need to be made aware of the benefits and techniques of organic farming.
- Climate change: Pakistan, like other countries, is facing climate change. This is causing difficulty for both conventional and organic farmers to grow crops in Pakistan.
- Lack of government support: the Pakistani government needs more help for organic farming, like subsidies and market assistance. Thus, Conventional farmers need more time to switch to organic farming.
- High Investment: Organic farming is a high-investment and labour-intensive agricultural method. Conventional farmers resist organic farming due to this reason.
- Low selling price: organic farmers often have to sell their organic items at low prices due to the limited market. Consumers also need to gain knowledge about organic farming.
Government Support for Organic Farming in Pakistan
The high trend of organic farming compels the Pakistani government to start recognizing its importance. For this reason, the government has developed policies and programs to promote organic farming in Pakistan, including:
- Pakistan’s National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) was launched in 2008 to promote organic agriculture. The Ministry of Food Security and Research and the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) jointly implement the program.
- The National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) is a research institution of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) based in Islamabad, Pakistan. It works in collaboration with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
- The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) is a federal organization responsible for sustainable agricultural research in Pakistan. It works under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock.
Organic farming is a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional farming. There are many benefits to organic farming in Pakistan, including increased soil health, reduced water pollution, and improved human health. The government of Pakistan is starting to recognize the importance of organic farming and is developing policies and programs to promote it. With continued government support, organic farming has the potential to play a significant role in the future of agriculture in Pakistan.