Finding the balance between productivity and sustainable agriculture

ANSUMAN PATTNAYAK (Department of Agriculture, Government of Orissa, India)
Friday, August 4, 2017

Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are threatening climate parameters in a big way, but using environmentally friendly products can be a way for us to move closer to a more sustainable future.  

Promoting organic farming as an alternate to chemical farming is one way to mitigate the negative impact of the over use of chemical inputs, but I was sceptical about the practical applicability of substituting chemical fertilizer with bulk organic manures. 

Day by day populations of livestock are decreasing and the human population is increasing, how can we make a balance and find a way out so that productivity can be sustainable and ecologically maintained?

Six years back I got an opportunity to attend a training programme of Mrs Rohini Reddy, Executive Director of South Asia Rural Reconstruction Association (SARRA) in my state Odissa) for five days. In the introductory classes, Madam Rohini introduced Dr Cho Global Natural Farming and the usefulness of Indigenous Micro Organism (IMO) in the Natural Farming production practices. I asked so many questions to clear my scientific concepts that were with me for a long time. I clearly remember her saying, ‘my son please go through the basic session analysis and ask me your doubts.’ In the night after the training, I was correlating the Dr Cho Global Natural Farming concept, growth and development of forest species in their natural habitats with that of our scientific practices. Finally, I found the conclusion: correlating the concept of allopathic medicine where quantified selected medicine doses are given to cure of diseases, whereas few drops of potencies of selective homeopathic medicine dose are equally able to cure the same diseases, so let us trust and try a new concept.

During the last five years, I have organised more than 20 sessions of training programmes in 8 districts of Odisha mostly for tribal farmers and obtained tremendous feedback about their crop production. More than 1000 farmers are trained now from my intervention and those who have applied the IMOs to their crop field are getting higher returns than their previous practices. The significant result of foliar IMO applications are-

  • More lustre,
  • brighter colour,
  • higher keeping quality,
  • better aroma/ flavour,
  • less fibre content of the fruits
  • Sweeter compact and bigger in size of the produce.

Apart from this, the plants show early flowering, more fruits per plant, prolong fruiting period and prolong life span of the plants, with more branching per plant etc. The limitation is that most of the farmers who have trained in the Global Natural Farming for use of  IMO have adopted part of the concept at various crop growth stage but everyone has obtained significant result in one way or another.

Moving forward, we can take a more systematic approach on harnessing the full utilisation of emerging technology both by the Government sector and NGO sector to save our planet.