ORGANIC FARMING IN KERALA:
India has a glorious history of farming, starting probably from the 6th millennium BC in the Indus Valley, harnessing the annual floods and the subsequent alluvial deposits. The Indus Valley Civilization was founded on sustainable farming practices. Subsequently, our culture and ethos became reflections of the agricultural practices and it became mutually inseparable till recently. Harvest of the main crops is celebrated through out the country.
In Kerala, it was a custom that the farm land has also to be given rest for three months
after the harvest; tilling is strictly prohibited during this period. The ecological reason behind this ritual is that tilling during monsoon leads to severe soil erosion
and hence is unsustainable. Therefore, sustainability has been the hallmark of our farming system from time immemorial, growing the time tested, weather suited, traditional crops with or without additional organic inputs, but deeply interwoven with the ecological systems and climatic conditions.
THE NEW AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES:
In the wake of post-independent era when the main thrust was, and correctly so, to produce more food for the ever growing human population, many of the old agricultural practices dissappered. The Green Revolution, with a single slogan of ‘grow more food’, was only a natural
outcome of a national challenge to meet the growing food requirements. The production of food grains from 50.8 million tonnes during 1950 rose to 108 million tonnes in
1970-71 and, 208.6 million tones in 2005 -06. However, this development - unmindful of the ecosystem principles so revered and practiced for centuries- led to seemingly irrevocable ecological and environmental catastrophes in the country.
The green revolution replaced the traditional seds with high-yielding ones which needed tonnes of fertilizers and more water.. The crops and varieties alien to the soil attracted new pests and...