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Advantages and Disadvantages

Conventional/Modern Vs Organic Farming

Organic and Modern/conventional agriculture belonged to two different paradigms. The fundamental difference between the two competing agricultural paradigms as follows

Conventional FarmingOrganic Farming
Domination of natureHarmony with nature
PrecessionLess Precession
Need for Global Food demandDifficult to meet global food demand
Synthetic sources are usedNo synthetic sources are use huge bio mass is required
Hybrids and GMOs are response better to this methodHybrids and GMOs cultivation is not a

In contrast, several agro-ecologically based researchers stress more the fluid transition between conventional, integrated and organic farming, as an outcome of different assessments of economic, ecological and social goals. Consequently, technique strategies such as integrated pest management of balanced nutrient supply might improve conventional agriculture to such as an extent that it may appear unnecessary to strictly ban pesticides and mineral fertilizers as required by organic standards.

However, there is scientific that organic agriculture differs from conventional agriculture not only gradually but fundamentally. Implementing organic methods consequently seems to provide a new quality in how the agro-ecosystem works. This functioning cannot be explained by summing up single ecological measures. Organic farming seems to improve soil fertility in a way and to an extent which cannot be achieved by conventional farming even if the later consistently respects some ecologically principles.

Organic agriculture is one of several to sustainable agriculture and many of the techniques used (e.g. inter-cropping, rotation of crops, double digging,, mulching, integration of crops and livestock) are practiced under various agricultural systems. What makes organic agriculture unique, as regulated under various laws and certification programmes, is that:

1) almost all synthetic inputs are prohibited and 2) Soil building crop rotations are mandated. The basic rules of organic production are that natural inputs are approved and synthetic inputs are prohibited, but there are exceptions in both cases.

Certain natural inputs determined by the various certification programmes to be harmful to human health or the environment are prohibited (e.g. arsenic). As well, certain synthetic inputs determined to be essential and consistent with organic farming philosophy, are allowed (e.g. insect pheromones). Lists of specific approved synthetic inputs and prohibited natural inputs are maintained by all the certification programmes and such a list is under negotiation in codex. Many certification programmes require additional environmental protection measures in adoption to these two requirements. While many farmers in the developing world do not use synthetic inputs, this alone is not sufficient to classify their operations as organic.

Modern Farming

Today's chemical farms have little use for the skilled husbandry which was once the guiding principle of working the land. The emphasis today is solely on productivity - high input in exchange for high returns and productivity (mostly diminishing now however for farmers worldwide). Four important considerations - what happens to the land, the food it produces, the people who eat it and the communities which lose out - are overlooked.

Land exhaustionThe constant use of artificial fertilizer, together with a lack of crop rotation, reduces the soil's fertility year by year.
FertilizersHigh yield levels are produced by applying large quantities of artificial fertilizers, instead of by maintaining the natural fertility of the soil.
Nitrate run-offAbout half of the nitrate in the artificial fertilizer used on crops is dissolved by rain. The dissolved nitrate runs off the fields to contaminate water courses.
Soil erosionWhere repeated deep ploughing is used to turn over the ground, heavy rains can carry away the topsoil and leave the ground useless for cultivation.
Soil compactionDamage to the structure of soil by compression is a serious problem in areas that are intensively farmed. Conventional tillage may involve a tractor passing over the land six or seven times, and the wheelings can cover up to 90 per cent of a field. Even a single tractor pass can compress the surface enough to reduce the porosity of the soil by 70 per cent, increasing surface run-off and, therefore, water erosion. In the worst cases, the surface run-off may approach 100 percent - none of the water penetrates the surface
Agricultural fuelAs crop yields grow, so does the amount of fuel needed to produce them. European farmers now use an average of 12 tons of fuel to farm a square kilometre of land; American farmers use about 5 tons (1987 figures).
Biocide spraysThe only controls used against weeds and pests are chemical ones. Most crops receive many doses of different chemicals before they are harvested.
Cruelty to animalsOn most "modern" farms, all animals are crowded together indoors. Complex systems of machinery are needed to feed them, while constant medication is needed to prevent disease. The cruelty involved in managing, breeding, growing and slaughtering farm animals today is unimaginably repulsive and horrifying.
Animal slurryWith so many animals packed together in indoor pens, their manure accumulates at great speed. It is often poured into lagoons which leak into local watercourses, contaminating them with disease-causing organisms and contributing to algae-blooms.
Imported animal feedMany farms are not self-sufficient in animal feed; instead they rely on feed brought into the farm. This often comes from countries which can ill afford to part with it.
Stubble burningIn countries where stubble is burned, large amounts of potentially useful organic matter disappear into the sky in clouds of polluting smoke
Loss of cultivated biodiversityLarge and other chemical farms tend to be monocultures growing the same crop and crop variety
Threat to indigenous seeds and animal breeds and speciesNative cultivars and animal breeds lose out to exotic species and hybrids. Many native animal breeds are today threatened with extinction. The same holds true for many indigenous plant varieties which have disappeared within the space of one generation.
Habitat destructionAgribusiness farming demands that anything which stands in the way of crop production is uprooted and destroyed. The wild animals and plants which were once a common sight around farms are deprived of their natural habitat and die out.
Contaminated foodFood, both plant and animal products, leaves the farm contaminated with the chemicals that were used to produce it.
Destruction of traditional knowledge systems and traditionsRural indigenous knowledge and traditions, both agricultural and non-agricultural, is invariably connected to agriculture and agricultural systems.
Control of agriculture inputs and food distribution channelThe supply and trading in agricultural inputs and produce is in the hands of a few large corporations. This threatens food security, reducing the leverage and importance of the first and the last part of the supply chain - the farmer and the consumer.
Threat to individual farmersChemical agriculture is a threat to their livelihoods and changes their lifestyles, unfortunately not for the better.

Organic Farming

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