Conventional or Organic Farming?
“Economic growth and an increasing total global population have driven the human civilization into resource-intensive diets. Convectional farming has traditionally fulfilled the course of increasing demand but has largely falling short of addressing an equally important problem of climate change, prompting the gradual shift to organic farming”
Conventional farming is characteristic of high-input modern agriculture laden with synthetic chemical fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides. This type of farming has varying consequences on both the environment and people. Among the outstanding benefits are lesser costs at higher gains that have translated into higher profit margins. Other attributable advantages of conventional farming are increased food production, lower costs of production, and the creation of jobs. However, with the increasing realities of climate change, agriculture practices have not been an exception to the growing scrutiny into mounting concerns of a shared economy. This is by being held responsible for the impacts of farming practices on the society and environment. Hence, the primacy of productivity in agriculture has been faulted by environmental groups and lobbyists. Specifically, conventional farming has been criticized for being a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, water pollution, and related threats to human health.
From a sustainability perspective, continued overemphasis on productivity and profits through conventional farming fails to integrate sustainable business practices that are necessary for lasting business success. Further, making profits a primary focus of the agricultural production systems neglects the broader farming context of fostering plant nutrition through the ecological processes and conserving the existing soil and water resources. This has led to a gradual shift into societal oriented agricultural production known as organic farming that is double-edged. Making agriculture both environmentally and economically sound. Sound agricultural practices reduce agrochemical inputs while they simultaneously maintain high crop yields and farm economics. Organic farming makes use of healthy living systems that takes advantage of biodiversity and recycling. In organic farming, farmyard manure is used as fertilizer while preventative or biocontrol measures are used to protect crops from both pests and diseases. Organic farming prohibits the use of commercial fertilizers and pesticides and is based on a set of production standards that necessitate accreditation. Reputedly, it has been applauded for its smaller carbon footprint, conservation of the soil quality, replenishing the natural ecosystems, and preservation of air and water quality by not stuffing the surroundings with toxic pesticide residues.
A growing number of consumers view organic farming as effective ways to reduce environmental impacts while providing healthy food products. Consequently, consumers have been willing to pay for more when it comes to organic food products. Organically produced foods are being codified to offer consumers an opportunity to buy foods based on how they were grown. Organic agriculture is fast-growing, especially in the United States. However, globally, the organic food niche market remains small as conventional farmers tend to be more risk averse and seek a gradual transition into organic farming.
By Arnold Muthanga