Why is Natural Farming the Solution to Major Environmental Issues?
Natural and conventional farming- there are many differences between them. From planting the crop to the harvest, there are a lot of differences in how the food is produced. Recently, the debate on whether natural farming is beneficial has evolved from just focusing on using chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers that harm our health to including the concern of emission and impact of greenhouse gases on the environment too.
Good For The Soil
While farming, farmers often used chemical fertilizers and pesticides to grow plants and maximise the yield. This leads to faster deterioration in the quality of the soil resulting in greater quantity but poor quality of the harvest. Natural farming prevents the use of any kind of chemicals on the soil to alter the quality and quantity of the harvest. This ensures that the quality of the soil is not degraded which results in healthier crops.
Healthy soil makes a healthy crop, which is naturally resistant to diseases and pests. These plants have a natural defence mechanism because of natural farming and also help keep the soil naturally fertile for the next planting season as well.
Using chemical fertilizers is not only bad for people but also harmful for the bees. As the bees act as natural pollinators for plants, they bear a high risk if we use chemical fertilizers instead of natural farming. Chemicals like Glyphosate and neonicotinoids are very harmful to certain pollinators.
On the other hand, soils from natural farming produce certain antioxidants, vitamin E omega-3 fatty acids when consistent natural farming is practised which are not only harmless for pollinator bees but also healthy for consumption for us too.
Less groundwater pollution
Since conventional farming contaminates the soil, it is bound to contaminate the groundwater as well. This can cause many health problems because we almost exclusively depend on groundwater for our daily usage. Water has become a limited natural resource as it is. If groundwater becomes polluted, it will have adverse effects on the environment and its inhabitants.
Natural farming will help the soil stay healthy and maintain the groundwater pollution-free to ensure safe livelihood for billions of people on the planet.
Less Greenhouse Gas emission
Global Greenhouse gas emissions for crop and livestock agriculture has increased from 4.7 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent in 2001 to 5.3 billion tonnes equivalent today which is more than a 14% increase. Natural farming can control greenhouse gases emission and provide a solution for global warming.
The increasing usage of nitrous oxide in chemical fertilizers has a direct impact on global warming because of the direct link between nitrous oxide emission and the quantity of nitrogen-based fertilizers in the soil. This is a very important aspect of global warming because 1 kilo of nitrous oxide has the same impact on the environment as 300 kilos of carbon dioxide.
As natural farming does not allow synthetic nitrogen-based fertilizers, the nitrogen levels are significantly less in natural farming land as compared to conventional farming land per acre. This will hugely contribute to the global warming solution and produce enough food.
Less Energy Usage
Conventional farming uses synthetic fertilizers which are manufactured in factories that use a significant amount of energy to make these fertilizers. And if we also consider the fuel used for transportation of these fertilizers, we will run out of natural resources sooner than expected.
Natural farming reduces energy consumption eliminating the usage of natural resources by more than 50% if we practise stable and consistent natural farming methods.
Natural farming can help reduce carbon emissions, increase soil fertility and improve the climate. Ark Agro, a part of the Ark Group, was set to practise and promote natural farming by spreading awareness and educating the farmers on the methods of natural farming. Their farms are also equipped with rainwater harvesting and compost sheds to ensure maximum advantage and minimum energy consumption.