Organic farming need of socially & ecolo gically sensitive FAIR research
- Dear sir/madam,
I am sending copy of my letter to ISOFAR for your kind perusal and
Organic farming need of socially & ecologically sensitive FAIR research
ON the occasion of
anniversary of ISOFAR ,June 20th
CAZRI, Jodhpur, INDIA
I remember the foundation ceremony of ISOFAR the June 20,2003. I also felt proud
to be a founder member. Then certainly ISOFAR has done many achievement
,organized world conference and many other aspects for which I may be ignorant
and would like to know the progress for myself as well as research community in
India in particular. In case a step yet to be taken please do that in the
foundation stage before the building starts.
Some of these aspects are
1. Organic farming is a paradigm shift of concept, philosophy, principals
(recently made by IFOAM). Similar things should be made as basics of organic
farming research. Just to initiate this aspect I briefly emphasized the need of
organic mentality during the foundation ceremony. We can add ethics for organic
farming research, which is socially, as well as ecologically fair research
(like fair trade, a basic principal of organic farming).
2. Global warming and Ozone depletion are the two examples, which strongly show
that we cannot live in isolation, every activity of individual/group affects
the globe. While organic farming is based on harmony with nature, native and
neighbour, similar principals and practices can be followed while doing
research. The research need to be welfare oriented for world and not for the
benefit of a particular region or group of people.
3. Nobody or no place is complete or developed . Everybody is developing and
incomplete. Developed means all the progress has been completed.
Tempe rates fruits can not be grown easily in tropical regions and vice versa
e.g tropical spices. Already nature ahs done classification like
temperate/tropical, plane/mountain, drylands/wetland. Let us move ahead with
natural classification and not with the man made /political classification for
programmes on organic farming .
4. Quality of research : Let the ISOFAR decide the definition of quality
research i.e. beautifully documented ( an art) or having real and practical
use. Some of the research papers are written very well but not able to reach in
field. Further research need to be categories specially n case of organic
farming. These are descriptive, prescriptive and predictive.
5. Water : will be the most limiting factor for farming in future. Fortunately
organic farming is the best way for efficient utilization of water. Therefore
in every research programme of organic farming study on efficient utilization
of water should be imperative . Also to the policy makers this fact need to be
conveyed at every plateform.
There is urgent need of research methodology standardization, ethics,
orientation, data interpretation etc. based on principals of organic farming .
Some of the areas/issues on which consensus is required are-
1. Soil fertility assessment : In the chemical farming ,lots of chemicals are
used for estimation of 16 essential elements. Organic farming is a holistic
approach, also not allowed to use synthetic chemicals therefore need is to
assess soil fertility by biological tools e.g. microbes, or soil physical
parameters or by total productivity of various components like crops ,trees,
microbes, animals etc. ISOFAR is to show the standard methodology.
2. System research : Methodology need to develop for system research and the
studies conducted in isolation like effect of Tricoderma spp. on disease
control in ground nut may be consider basic research .While doing organic
research there should be integration of all practices cultural, biological,
agronomical etc. and only those papers may be consider for publication under
organic farming which are having at least Three years data of a system.
3. Use of statistics: Statistics is very good for interpretation of results
in irrigated and for study of limited components BUT in case of organic farming
it need further refinement of statistical methods for information to be
4. One sensitive issue is the introduction of non-native species as
biofertiliser or biopesticide just for commercial interest. One example is use
of exotic species for making vermicomposting. I found that in India, only
because of commercial interest, one exotic species of earthworm Eisina fotida
is being used at most of the places, ignoring the efficient local species. How
long such practices will be able to maintain eco-balance or sustainability and
the biodiversity? IN the earlier research it has been found that efficient
strains of native fauna/flora is beneficial as well as non disturbing to
eco-balance. Therefore need is to show concern and guide the policy makers with
logics through this international forum (ISOFAR).
5. Organic farming is based on input optimization .The question is need to be
answered by the organic farming research that how much and how long external
biofertilisers and biopesticides are needed ? If it is recommended forever, in
ling term all the evils of chemical farming may come in organic system. In an
Indian proverb it can be called that come out from well and sink in pond.
Therefore research is needed for careful recommendations.
6. Another related question is whether the research in organic farming should be
location specific or generalized just to promote some biofertilisers and
7. Based on the principal of biodiversity conservation is there relevance
/priority to promote local crops and local breed of animals or just grow/allow
an species having export demand.
8. Although use of human excreta is not permissible in organic farming . On the
other side this is one of the richest source of nutrient. One research priority
should be utilize this treasure going in sewer.
9. Although organic farming is called sustainable BUT there should be scientific
basis of sustainability .Need is to find out measurable indicators for
assessment of sustainability of organic farming.
10. Although this is to be decide by the society whether the organic rearing
of animals for exclusively meet purpose is baised on principals of organic
farming BUT scientifically unbiased study is needed to assess this practice in
terms of energy use, health problems, environmental problems etc.
11. I came to know that many of the organic farms are consuming energy
lavishly, just to grow off season crops/high value crops. Research is needed to
develop energy efficient organic systems.
12. Traditions are most of the time ignored whenever modern science is discussed
BUT in organic farming most of the so called default organic( more appropriate
is designed organic) is based on time tested sustainable technologies. Equal
opportunities/encouragement need to given for revalidation and improvement in
the traditional organic farming.
13. Research for certification : Procedure for certification is yet to be
standardized. Most of countries as well as certification agencies follows
different procedures/ methods for certification that need to be rationalized by
research .Period of conversion, social behavior, neighbors effect, residual
effect are some of the line of research.
14. Last but not least ISOFAR need to develop database, based on research and
on the basis of that database counter reply of two mis-arguments of the
chemical farming supporters can be given. These mis-arguments are-
(i) Sufficient organic inputs are not available to convert all the farming into
(ii) Organic farming is not able to feed the world.
In case ISOFAR has done work on these aspects ,kindly let me know. I request
kindly publish fully or partly this message in the ISOFAR newletter.
With best wishes and Happy Anniversary.
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