Introduction to organic farming in Uttar Pradesh: Agriculture is said to be the backbone of Uttar Pradesh’s economy. Agriculture provides about 59% employment to the people of the state. Organic farming in India is a widely used strategy for the production of food crops and livestock, including the idea of not using fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, and growth hormones. Organic farming in India is a comprehensive framework aimed at maximizing the profits and well-being of various networks within the agricultural environment. The main purpose of organic farming in India is to create projects that are environmentally sound and sustainable.
Organic farming in India is an agricultural strategy that involves the use of organic information sources and a reduction in the measurement of synthetic substances. The basic idea of organic farming is to provide food with maximum nutritional value using only permitted substances. This principle requires 100% natural fodder for livestock and its further processing without artificial products.
Organic farming is a system of farming that maximizes soil fertility through the maximum efficient use of local resources. It relies on a variety of ecological farming methods aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of food production, preserving the long-term sustainability of the soil, and maximizing the use of renewable resources.
A guide to how to start organic farming in Uttar Pradesh, organic farming certification process, PKVY Schemes for organic farming in Uttar Pradesh
Basic methods of organic farming include crop diversification, polyculture, promotion of beneficial soil organisms, crop rotation, companion crops, production of agricultural inputs in their fields, animal husbandry, pest repellent plants, including biological pesticides and herbicides, insect traps, physical barriers, water storage, etc. The climate of Uttar Pradesh is mainly sub-tropical, but climatic conditions vary considerably with location and climate.
Advantages of organic farming
Some of the benefits of the concept and methods of organic farming are;
- Refused health-threatening chemicals;
- Avoiding costs for expensive synthetic additives;
- Ensuring food quality and certification;
- Improved product taste and nutritional value;
- Safe environment;
- Recycled natural waste for manure;
- Improved soil quality.
Salient features of organic farming
Some of the salient features of organic farming are;
- Improving soil fertility
- Maintaining organic matter in the soil
- Stimulating biological activity in the soil
- Improving microbial activity
- Using legumes to fulfill the soil nitrogen requirements
- Managing diseases, pests, and weeds using techniques such as natural predators, organic fertilizers, crop rotation, diversity conservation, breeding of resistant varieties, etc.
- Effective management of livestock by paying special attention to their nutritional needs, housing, breeding, rearing, etc.
Organic farming practices in Uttar Pradesh
For managing soil productivity, organic producers face unique challenges. Organic farmers rely on intuition and observations, traditional soil tests, and their own experience to make decisions about the amount and application of soil modification. As a result, there is a dramatic change in both the number of nutrients used and the resulting soil fertility in organically managed fields. Organic farming systems are designed to retain nutrients in organic reserves or biologically available mineral forms, rather than simply providing nutrients through frequent fertilizer additions.
Under agro-climatic zone IV, the soils of the region are derived from alluvium-derived soils. The soil is smooth and rich in organic matter. The dominant clay landscapes, which represent the northern plains, consist of mildly sloping lands. The soil is highly calcareous in some areas. Soil is generally neutral in reaction and contains moderate soils and low organic carbon content. Traditionally rain-fed and irrigated agriculture are common. The major crops grown are Rice, Maize, Peas, Millet, Pearl Millet, Peanuts during Kharif and wheat, Bengal gram during Rabi season, Green Peas, Rapeseed, and Mustard, and Lentils. Sugarcane is an important cash crop.
Understanding the soil – The soil is considered the foundation of your farm. Everything from its appearance, well-being, and equality are responsible for the productive outcome. Therefore, it is essential to know when and how to prepare your soil and create the best conditions for your crops to tolerate and thrive.
The site is key – The site plays a vital role in the success of any project. The location of an organic farm usually determines how the project will turn out. Organic farm sites must be close to clean water sources. If the water source is far away, it is more difficult to manage the irrigation process. For a newcomer, it’s hard to imagine, but it’s also important for the success of the project. The proximity of the farm to the market also plays a major role in the sustainability of the farm. The proximity of the farm to the market allows easy transportation of produce for sale. Also, it helps save on the cost of transporting materials to the farm. However, site selection should also be done with the purpose of an organic farm. If the form is not for commercial purposes, the role of these factors is likely to be diminished. The purpose of the form also determines its size.
Choose the suitable crop – Organic farming can grow only a few crops, organic farming yields low yields, and it is very difficult to manage pests and diseases without chemical sprays. These were some of the myths about organic farming. Agriculture began with organic farming. No chemicals were used before 60 years. Chemicals used in agriculture are scientific inventions of scientists. During this time, people used to grow all crops after a completely organic method. Therefore, at present, we can grow any crop organically. Even paddy that requires high amounts of water and chemical fertilizers can be grown organically. This is the success story of organic paddy. However, it is always advisable to grow the crop according to geographical, soil, and environmental conditions. Look around you and see what other farmers are growing. Keep regular notes on market prices and choose items that are well priced and you can make a good profit at the end of the season.
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Prepare the soil and make good compost – All good organic farm production starts with good soil. The soil condition directly complements the plants that grow in it. Treating inorganic soils can potentially harm the environment, including plants that grow in the soil, as well as consumers who eventually consume food. Good soil means soil with essential nutrients for plant growth. Good soil is a mixture of compost, leaves and grass clippings, and fertilizers, among other important compounds. Farmers generally benefit when they make their compost onsite. Compost helps conserve water, cut weeds, and keep waste away. This step is important when starting a farm.
Take care of what you plant – Growing crops is a long process. Organic farming takes time and requires more attention than conventional farming. Some techniques need to be considered in terms of plant and farm conditions. Also, an organic farming technique does not necessarily work for all the plants on the farm. Water is necessary for plants’ growth. Regular watering is essential for plant growth. Typically, plants are watered 2-3 times a day, depending on their type as well as where they are being grown. Watering the plant in the morning is very useful as it is cool in the morning. Because of this, the water does not evaporate rapidly. Weeding is another important maintenance task. Herbs grow in good soil and these undesirable plants get nutrients that are meant for crops.
Organic manure – Green fertilizers help promote high soil structure and soil fertility. They provide organic matter, an extra measure of nitrogen, especially if you are going to grow vegetables.
Compost – New deposits can be accumulated from fields and household residues, can be accumulated and can be converted into the air from time to time, and can be continuously degraded by reducing the carbon: nitrogen ratio.
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Start looking for markets – If you have grown organic food on your farm and you do not know where to sell it after harvest, you will be in big trouble. Not all wholesalers need organic food. And if they are willing to buy from you, they will not offer a special price for an organically grown product. So, once you think about organic farming, you have to have a clear idea of who the buyer will be. Once you have an idea on this front, it will be very easy for you to sell the product after harvesting.
Is organic farming a profitable business?
Organic farming is a unique technique for cultivating plants and raising livestock in a completely natural way by using natural ingredients free from any synthetic inputs in the process. Organic farming uses artificial additives to produce healthier products than large-scale production, and consumers claim that the use of bio-based ingredients also improves the taste of organic food. Avoiding synthetic substances helps maintain soil fertility and maintain the delicate ecological balance of the grassland ecosystem, reducing pollution.
Information about organic farming in Uttar Pradesh
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- The UP government is ready to make UP a hub of organic farming in the country to start organic farming in villages along the banks of River Ganga. The UP-state government is introducing cluster farming to ensure it is planned and better monitored.
- The government of Uttar Pradesh will provide a grant of Rs. 10 lakh per cluster for 50 acres in the next three years to encourage farmers. Out of the total amount, Rs. 3,30,000 will be paid twice in the first and third years. A grant of Rs. 3,40,000 will be distributed in the middle year. 38% of the total grant will be spent on the formation of clusters, increasing the capacity of farmers, value addition, branding, and packaging, etc.
- Organic crops will be sown in 68000 hectares of land in the first phase. Organic farming will also be practiced in all the 1,038-gram panchayats along with the 27 districts of the river Ganga passing through Uttar Pradesh.
- Farmers will also be trained organically on-farm preparation, green manure management, nursery preparation, panchagavya, jivamrit, vermicompost, and product cleaning, etc., organically. Increasing health awareness has increased the demand for organic products and has also increased the income of farmers.
- It mainly includes 36 districts for traditional agricultural development and 27 districts under the Namami Gange project. Jhansi, Jalaun, Lalitpur, Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Chitrakoot, and others are the districts included in the traditional agricultural scheme.
- Some districts in Uttar Pradesh included in Namami Gange Scheme are Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur, Prayagraj, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Fatehpur, Pratapgarh, and others.
- The Uttar Pradesh Department of Agriculture and Horticulture, in collaboration with the Department of Jal Shakti, is working on a plan to convert a five-kilometer radius along both the banks of the Ganges into an organic farming belt and in this process giving farmers a “new and diversified income platform”.
- The government is launching organic farming, given the huge market and demand for organic products in the country as well as abroad. Through the Organic Farming Promotion Scheme, the Uttar Pradesh government is working on three major targets. The first goal is to clean and protect the Ganga. The second is to increase the income of farmers and the third is to produce large quantities of organic crops in the state.
- Farmers will be provided with the necessary equipment at a discounted price along with training and information. Departments are in the process of providing specialized markets for organic crops, product identification, and schemes.
- The government is going to provide a new and diversified income platform to farmers by promoting organic farming in the Gangetic plains.
- The UP government will introduce organic farming in 27 districts to provide incentives to farmers. Similarly, organic farming will be done in each of the 1,038-gram panchayats located under 27 districts along the Ganges River passing through the state of Uttar Pradesh.
- Farmers will also be given refresher and training on green manure management, nursery preparation, panchagavya, jivamrit, product cleaning, farm preparation, organic worm compost composition.
- The government said, the growing focus on healthy living has increased the demand for organic matter and has also increased the wages of farmers. The condition is that the consumer must know what he is buying is of real quality.
Organic farming project in Uttar Pradesh
Government of Uttar Pradesh, Directorate of Agriculture has approved AFC (Agricultural Finance Corporation) as Support Agency for the implementation of Organic Farming under the Advanced Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) in 138 clusters (2760 ha) of Chandoli District, which is one of the 25 Ganga basin districts under Namami Gange Project. These activities include mobilizing farmers, registering, uploading data on the PGS portal, farmer documents, training and capacity building, marketing assistance by arranging links with buyers and building brand, etc.
The Directorate has appointed the AFC as the Regional Council for Rendering Certification Services in 70 clusters with about 1400 hectares area in 5 districts; they are Gorakhpur; Deoria; Gonda; Balrampur; and Sidharthnagar.
The duration of the project is 3 years. Under PKVY, the AFC was allotted 60 clusters in Balia (one of the Ganga Basin districts under the Namami Ganga) by the government by the UP Diversified Agriculture Support Project (UPDASP) earlier this year.
PKVY is being implemented in all 25 Ganga Basin districts of Uttar Pradesh with the two objectives of reducing the production cost of farmers, arranging marketing links with farmers, ensuring consumers to be chemical-free organic products, and improving soil health by adopting traditional farming methods.
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Fertilizer application and plant protection for organic farming in UP
As we mentioned earlier, conventional farming can be done with the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. There is no doubt that it shows results but it has negative effects on the environment as well as the human body. Therefore, to start organic farming, you should know how to make organic fertilizers and pesticides around your farm. The use of organic inputs will not leave any residue in the commodity and therefore it is safe for the human body.
Let’s look at some of the ways that organic fertilizers and pesticides can be made on your farm;
Replace DAP – Cow dung, cow urine, jaggery, with gram flour, fertile soil taken from nearby trees or rivers can act as an organic fertilizer that can replace diammonium phosphate (DAP). This mixture contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus and can enhance soil texture.
Micronutrient Mixture – Mixing neem powder, gram flour, jaggery, and waste soluble liquid (available in the market) can be a good micronutrient solution for plants and cure all deficiency symptoms.
Pesticide – Mixing and boiling the powder of neem tree branches or leaves and datura plant powder together can make highly toxic and concentrated organic pesticides. Once it is done, you can dilute it and spray it in the field.
The organic farming concept of agriculture relies heavily on alternative ways to control pests: prevention, construction of natural barriers, physical removal, and tackling insect attacks on their biological enemies (predators) such as the ladybug vs. aphids.
Get a certificate of organic agricultural products in Uttar Pradesh
- A farmer/farmer group/processor/trader who is looking for an organic farming certificate for his agricultural produce makes sure that his form is National Program for Organic Production (NPOP).
- According to the standards set by organic crop production. The application will be submitted in the required format along with the fee and complete verification of the field specified by the NPOP (National Program for Organic Production).
- Some general standards for crop production provided by the Uttar Pradesh State Organic Certification Agency (UPSOCA) under organic farming are available on the UPSOCA website link. Now select Organic Certification on the main page.
- The application form is available and downloaded from the UPSOCA website under the downloads section in the registration form.
- The application should provide all the information requested by the Uttar Pradesh State Organic Certification Agency (UPSOCA) such as name, address, contact person details, field location, group details complete, signature, and return to the office.
- After scrutiny and acceptance of the application by the examiner for registration, a letter of offer (estimated fee for inspection and certification) and a copy of the agreement will be sent to the operator through the evaluator. In cases where the client cannot be accepted for organic certification, it will be reported to the concerned.
- The operator is registered on TraceNet.
- The proposed registration fee, field inspection fee, the one-way trip should be paid by the person applying along with the application form.
- Upon receipt of payment, in consultation with the operator, a copy of the form record, and the date of inspection is fixed and a copy of the NPOP standard is sent along with the inspection intimation letter.
- The inspection will be done on the day it is finalized and the signed mutual agreement will be provided to the operator. A copy of the inspection report will be handed over to the operator at the inspection time.
- A detailed inspection report is submitted to the evaluator. A detailed list of crops for the individual operator, as well as a deadline for corrective actions with major and minor inconsistencies, has been entered into the TraceNet.
- The group verifies the data entered into the TraceNet by the CB group for farmers.
- Upon receipt of full payment, the evaluator operator reviews the file and then submits it to the Certification Committee. The Certification Committee makes the final decision based on the corrective action taken by the operator against the inconsistency in the inspection report.
- The quality manager will generate the certificate via TraceNet and send it to the operator.
- To use the Certification Agency logo / India Organic logo, the operator has to send an application to the office which will be forwarded to the operator under the NSOP after approval by the Certification Committee. The draft labels must be sent to the certification agency’s office for verification and then approval before printing.
Eligibility – The product needs to be authenticated for two to three years to get the qualification certification. Though, the soil must meet the basic requirements of being free from the use of prohibited substances like synthetic chemicals for many years for the first-time certification. Though, a traditional farm must adhere to organic standards for this period. A valid organic certificate is valid for one year only, it has to be renewed every year.
Organic certification process in Uttar Pradesh
It is defined as the certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. Requirements change from country to country and include a set of production standards for growth, storage, processing, packaging, and shipping, including;
1. Avoid synthetic chemical inputs.
2. Avoid genetically modified seeds.
3. The use of farmland that has been free of banned chemicals for many years (often, three or more).
4. Adherence to specific requirements for livestock, food, shelter, and breeding.
5. Detailed written production and sales record-keeping (audit trail).
6. Physical separation of organic products from uncertified products.
7. Periodically inspect the site.
PKVY Scheme for organic farming in Uttar Pradesh
As the global population grow rapidly, the need for a more sustainable approach to food production became more apparent. Thus, the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) was launched by the Government of India in 2015 to produce food while maintaining ecological balance to prevent soil fertility or pest problems. PKVY aims to support and promote organic farming, which in turn improves soil health. It aims to develop agricultural products that are free of chemicals and pesticides by adopting environmentally friendly, low-cost technologies.
Key thrust areas of PKVY for promoting organic farming include;
- Promoting organic farming among farmers/consumers/traders
- Disseminating the latest technologies in organic farming
- Utilize the services from public agricultural research system experts in India.
- Take advantage Arrange at least one cluster demonstration in a village.
Approach – To take advantage of this PKVY scheme, each group has 50 farmers ready for organic farming and their total area must be at least 50 acres. PGS certification enables farmers to verify their organic produce, label and market their products domestically.
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