What I learned from Organic Farm visit

06 Jun 2013 by Madan Poudel

nepal groupFew weeks ago, we students of Agriculture and Forestry University (agriculture faculty) had a visit to an Organic Farm located in nearby village. We met Chandra Parsad Adhakari, an innovative organic farmer who has more than 15 years experience in this field. Farmers establish local innovative organization having more than 125 members and they organize different training and programme like indigenous seed saving and exchange, farmyard manure improvement and processing programme to create organic VDC. Chandra Parsad Adhakari has a small farm with more than 80 diversified crops showing the good example of multi storey cropping system.

Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. In the world, 4.6 % of the total edible food market is covered by organic products and it is increasing by 15 – 20 % every year.  In Nepal, around 20 % of the total food produced is still organic. But only 10,000 ha of Nepalese organic agriculture area is certified up to now. In the process of attaining higher levels of food production for matching the demand of growing population during the past 4 decades, emphasis was laid on intensive agricultural practices. With the increase in crop yields from modern farming techniques reaching a plateau in most of the countries and the environmental problems due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides becoming a matter of concern, the need for sustainable agriculture is increasingly being felt, the world over. In  the view of resurgence of interest in alternatives in recent years, organic farming has been considered to be a sound and viable option in most countries.

In this direction, the recommendations of the Atlanta Conference of 1981 on “Organic Farming” have acted as catalysts in trigerring interest in the organic agricultural systems across the  world (Dahama, 1997).These days the niche market for organic products are steadily increasing particularly in the urban area despite the fact that the organic products are a bit expensive than the conventional products. Different national network organization like Nepal Permaculture Group, SECARD Nepal and private sectors like organic world and fair future, organic village, are aggressively involved in promotion and marketing organic products.

Organic products are gaining a momentum. Over a century, traditionally farmers in hills and mountain areas are following farming practice which is similar to organic farming. However, many  of them have no idea that their traditional practice is called organic agriculture. Because of the lengthy certification process, the products produced through organically do not get recognition as organic products. The traditional farming knowledge and skill give the positive point for promoting the organic agriculture in Nepal. Though they actively participate in production of organic stuffs the biggest question is that 'will the organic food stuffs satisfy the increasing population and food demand?'. On a discussion with Chandra Parsad Adhakari, he said that it doesn't mean that increasing use of fertilizer will increase the yield, farmers should have good knowledge and practice on how to utilize the degrading land knowing about biological process to control pest and diseases. Local farmers have innovatively initiated the production factory of the FYM and vermicompost manure. Recently they are manufacturing two products namely Superdigo and Qualitydigo.

Normally 4-5 local cows in the hilly areas will produce 1kg of urea in a day which will meet the increasing demand of NPK in the field. Rearing 4-5 cows will provide enough nutrient for 12-15 companies. It is believed that Nepalese farmers are more committed to organic farming compared to other south asia countries. But nowadays, particularly youth are distracted from agriculture field. They think once they have some degree, its not good to work in the field of agriculture and playing with mud, FYM and they seek greener pasture in cities for employment. Local innovation like this is doing a great thing in creating awareness among youth, providing an environment for empowerment of youth in agriculture.