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E. Somasundaram, D. Udhaya Nandhini
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Understanding the basic principles of organic agriculture is as much important as that of knowing the latest developments scenario in the field of agriculture. It is strenuous strive to keep pace with the progress of such a vast area like organic farming which is in practice throughout the globe. The budding farmer / scientist have to brace him with the fundamentals of organic agriculture. This book provides attention of one and all concerned to promote organic farming as a measure to provide the elutes to posterity and to save our farm land that we inherited from our forefathers from being degraded and made in to wastelands through our excessive interventions. Opportunity for employment generation in rural India and making the rural roles empowered to produce their farm inputs and a message to live healthy by eating organic food. In addition this publication guides the farmer interested in organic farming.

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Preface The quantitative sufficiency of food in our country has led into think the maintenance of soil health and crop husbandry techniques, which maintain the nature’s balance. Understanding the basic principles of organic agriculture is as much important as that of knowing the latest developments scenario in the field of agriculture. It is strenuous strive to keep pace with the progress of such a vast area like organic farming which is in practice throughout the globe. The budding farmer / scientist have to brace him with the fundamentals of organic agriculture. Under this circumstance, important and relevant information about the various principles and practices of organic agriculture are compiled in a book form entitled “Traditional Organic Farming Practices”. The book is divided in to 20 chapters and which covers comprehensively the syllabus of organic farming offered for B.Sc (Agri) as stepping stone to other courses in agriculture. This book provides attention of one and all concerned to promote organic farming as a measure to provide the elutes to posterity and to save our farm land that we inherited from our forefathers from being degraded and made in to wastelands through our excessive interventions. Opportunity for employment generation in rural India and making the rural roles empowered to produce their farm inputs and a message to live healthy by eating organic food. In addition this publication guides the farmer interested in organic farming. The authors acknowledge their indebtedness to the authors/ publishers of various books from which they have drawn the matter for compiling this book. The list of which is attached at the end. The authors thank Dr. K. Ramasamy, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University for providing necessary guidelines for bringing out this book.

1 Towards Sustainable Organic Agriculture

Presently the farming situation urges need to develop farming techniques, which are sustainable from environmental, production, and socio-economic points of view. Modern agricultural production throughout the world does not appear to be sustainable in the long run. Sustainable agricultural development “is the management and conservation of the natural resource base and the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner to assure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for the present and future generations”. Such sustainable development in the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors, conserves land, water, plant and animal genetic resources, is environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable. Such concerns imparted a way to organic farming. It is the need of the day to understand the prospects and problems of organic farming to launch a successful and flawless organic production programme in the farm of environment. Organic farming It is the most widely recognized alternative farming system to chemical agriculture evolved during 1940’s largely in response to the publication of J.I Rodale in the U.S., Lady Eve Balfour in England and Sir Albert Howard in India. In 1980, USDA released a landmark report on organic farming. The report defined organic farming as follows; “Organic farming is a production system, which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. To the maximum extent feasible, organic farming systems rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off-farm organic wastes, mechanical cultivation, mineral bearing rocks, and aspects of biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and tilth to supply plant nutrients, and to control insects, weeds, and other pests”.

1 - 6 (6 Pages)
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2 Organic Inputs for Nutrient Management

Manure is the organic material derived from animal, human and plant residues which contain plant nutrients in complex forms. Manures are used as source of plant nutrients. They release nutrient after their decomposition. They are applied in large quantities Advantages of Organic Manures Organic manure provides all the nutrients that are required by plants but in limited quantities. It helps in maintaining C:N ratio in the soil and also increases the fertility and productivity of the soil. It improves the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. It improves both the structure and texture of the soils. It increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Due to increase in the biological activity, the nutrients that are in the lower depths are also made available to the plants through manures. It acts as mulch, thereby minimizing the evaporation losses of moisture from the soil.

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3 ITK Based Special Inputs / Techniques for Plant Growth

Technical Knowledge (ITK) based special inputs / Techniques for plant growth Growth of the plant has for long been believed to be due to the minerals absorbed from the soil and the food materials synthesized by the palnt. It is recognized that growth of the plant is very much regulated by certain chemical substances known as growth regulators. These substances are formed in one tissue or organ of the plant and are then transported to other sites where they produce specific effects on growth and development. These materials can be produced organically for improving plant growth. 3.1. Growth Promoting Substances Are those organic solutions (like Panchagavya, Buttermilk & Coconut milk slurry, Amudhakaraisal) prepared using the plant and animal products, decayed fruit and other agricultural wastes. For example

45 - 74 (30 Pages)
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4 Techniques for Weed Management in Organic Farming

Weeds can be considered a significant problem because they tend to decrease crop yields by increasing competition for water, sunlight and nutrients while serving as host plants for pests and diseases. Since the invention of herbicides, farmers have used these chemicals to eradicate weeds from their fields. Using herbicides not only increased crop yields but also reduced the labor required to remove weeds. Today, some farmers have a renewed interest in organic methods of managing weeds since the widespread use of agro-chemicals has resulted in purported environment and health problems. It has also been found that in some cases herbicides use can cause some weed species to dominate fields because the weeds develop resistance to herbicides. In addition, some herbicides are capable of destroying weeds that are harmless to crops, resulting in a potential decrease in biodiversity on farmers. It is important to understand that under an organic system of weed control, weeds could never be eliminated but only managed. In organic agriculture weeds are the resources as they are mostly native to the field/areas of existence (Children’s of the soil)

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5 Pest Management Techniques in Organic Farming

Insect pests cause huge losses ranging from 5 to 80% of even up to 100%. Acute food shortage following world war –II and Bengal famine (1943) due to failure of rice crop due to a paddy disease indicate the severity of the loss, caused by the pests and diseases. The insects in storage on an average consume and spoil an additional 4 million tones of grains every year. All this indicates the importance of plant protection by which we can save millions of tones of food grains which are otherwise eaten away by different pests. Losses due to insect pests in Indian agriculture are 23.3 per cent. One of the practical means of increasing crop production is to minimize the pest associated losses. A pest is any organism which occurs in large numbers and conflict with man’s welfare, convenience and profit. Pests are often controlled with man made chemicals which have many harmful effects, for example:

93 - 180 (88 Pages)
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6 Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) Based Techniques

Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) based inputs (Most of the ITK’s needs scientific validation before large scale adoption) Is the systematic body of knowledge acquired by local people through the accumulation of experiences, informal experiments, and intimate understanding of the environment in a given culture (Rajasekaran, 1993). Learning from ITK can improve understanding of local condition and provide a productive context for activities designed to help the communities. In addition, the use of ITK’s assures that the end user of specific agricultural development projects are involved in developing technologies appropriate to their needs’. Yet, ITK is still an underutilized resource in the development activities. It needs to be intensively and extensively studied, and incorporated into formal research and extension practices to make agriculture and rural development strategies more sustainable. Many of our indigenous practices in agriculture and allied fields have been replaced by the so-called modern technologies and they have become obsolete, especially among the younger generations. Now these indigenous practices are endangered ones and these are a possibility for them to become extinct particularly during this era of globalization, liberalization and commercialization. Now the need has come to re-examine and then gradually re-introduce the effective traditional technologies of crop production. Therefore, there is a need to systematically document the ITK as they are the unwritten body of knowledge. There is no systematic record to describe what is, what it does, how it does, means of changing it, its operations, it boundaries and its applications. It is held in different brains, languages and skills in as many groups, cultures and environments. Tamil Nadu is also a treasure land of indigenous practices in agriculture. However, only a few attempts have been undertaken by social scientists to document the available indigenous agricultural practices but none has evaluated scientifically. The documented ITK practices are given below.

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7 Indigenous Technical Knowledge Techniques for Individual Crops

7.1. Rice Treatment of paddy seeds in diluted bio gas slurry for 12 hours increases resistance of seedlings to pests and diseases. During panicle formation in paddy, the flowers of Cycas circinalis are placed on sticks in paddy fields @ 4/ac. Its unpleasant odor repels ear head bugs. About 30 kg of tamarind seeds are applied for an acre of paddy field 1 day after transplanting to boost up the crop growth and yield. Soaking the paddy seeds in diluted cow’s urine before sowing, considerably reduces the incidence of leaf spot and rice blast Presoaking of paddy seeds in milk increases its resistance against ‘tungro’ virus and ‘stunt’ virus For control of red leaf spot disease in paddy, the seeds are soaked in ‘Pudina’ leaf extract (Mentha sativa) for 24 hours ‘T’ shaped bamboo stands are placed in many places in the paddy fields so that birds can sit on them and feed on the larvae and adults of rice pests. Sowing on eighteenth day (Aadipperukku) of Tamil month Aadi (Jul-Aug.) ensures good harvest. Daincha (Sesbania spp.) seeds are sown on paddy main fields when paddy nursery is raised and the grown up daincha is ploughed in-situ during field preparation. Plough the main field for four to six times for better yield.

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8 Moisture Conservation Techniques

8.1. Documented ITKs on Moisture Conservation The ITKs were documented under following specific categories Agronomic Measures Tillage Bunding & Terracing (Mech. & Vegetative barrier) Land Configuration Soil Amendment / Mulching Erosion Control & Runoff Diversion Structures Water Harvesting, Seepage Control & Ground Water Recharge

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9 Techniques for Seeds and Sowing

9.1. ITKS for Seed Treatment and Sowing Yield of almost all the crops depends on seed quality. Even if it is a quality seed, it should be a dried one because well dried seeds will have higher longevity and keeping quality. It better to change the seeds at least once in two years. To maintain the seed viability and prevent it from outside damage, the outer shell is not separated. The seeds are generally stored along with the leaves of neem (Azadirachta indica), pungam (Pongamia pinnata), notchi (Vitex negundo) and thumbai (Leucas aspera). Six weeks nursery period is enough for six months duration of the crop. Shallow sowing is followed in dry lands. Severing the broadcasted seeds in dry lands with soil. Dragging, over the fields, the thorny branches with weight over them for covering seeds the sown on dry lands. It is better to start planting from ‘Sani moolai’ (north east) of the field to get higher yields. It is better to perform sowing and planting operations during evening hours.

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10 Regenerating the Soil

Soil regeneration is about bulding or making topsoil. It is a particular form of ecological regeneration within the field of restoration ecology is the act/idea of replenishingthe top soil with beneficial nutrients casing natural methods. Time required from inorganic to organic would be about 60 to 200 days depending upon the situation. Once the inorganic fertilization is stopped, following actions facilitate quick conversion: Apply Farm yard/Poultry manure available in the farm as a basal dressing. Sow 25 kg of multi varietal seeds (MVS) in one acre. Allow it to grow up to 60 days. Inoculate the soil with the bio-agents like Azospirillum, Phosphobacterium, Pseudomonas flouresens, Trichoderma viride on 30 days after sowing (DAS). Incorporate in situ 60 DAS (30 t ha-1 biomass is generated on 60 DAS) green manures.

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11 Microclimate Modification Techniques

Change in weather affects growth and development of plants. The extent of these effects depends upon the range or severity of change of weather. It is very much possible to change the weather in relatively small area to reap better harvest. Micro weather modification is defined as, “The manipulation of weather elements at increasing or decreasing the duration, intensity, quality etc., for desired effects at microlevel of crop under investigation”. The climate near the ground can be managed partly by influencing the moisture status and temperature of the upper soil layers, e.g. by mulching and partly by action above the ground e.g. by shading or use of wind breaks.

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12 Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) Based Inputs/Techniques for Storage

12.1. General Practices for Storage Lime juice is mixed with grains and then sun dried before storage to prevent insect pests (Farmers in Nigeria). Seeds are safely stored in earthern pots after mixing with the leaves of neem and Vitex negundo (Farmers in Gujarat, India). Drying seeds and grains of all the crops on the new moon day before storing to avoid pest attack. Store seed materials in earthen pots which are kept on the ‘Paran’ directly above the furnace in kitchen. The smoke acts as a repellent. Grains, trees etc. harvested on full moon day are raqre prone to storage pest attack. Mixing the dried leaves of neem with seeds while storing them.

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13 Other Forms of Organic Farming

13 1. Rishi Krishi Drawn from Vedas, the Rishi Krishi method of natural farming has been mastered by farmers of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In this method, all on-farm sources of nutrients including composts, cattle dung manure, green leaf manure and crop biomass for mulching are exploited to their best potential with continuous soil enrichment through the use of Rishi Krishi formulation known as “Amritpani” and virgin soil. 15 kg of virgin rhizosperic soil collected from beneath of Banyan tree (Ficus bengalensis) is spread over one acre and the soil is enriched with 200 lit Amritpani. It is prepared by mixing 250 g ghee into 10 kg of cow dung followed by 500 g honey and diluted with 200 lit of water. This formulation is utilized for seed treatment (beej sanskar), enrichment of soil (bhumi sanskar) and foliar spray on plants (padap sanskar). For soil treatment it needs to be applied through irrigation water as fertigation. The system has been demonstrated on a wide range of crops i.e. fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane and cotton.

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14 Water and Rainfall Prediction

14.1. Water Source Identification In places where Ficus religiosa tree is found, underground water will be more. Underground water will be more in places where the neem tree with more knots is found. In places where termite hills are found, underground water will be more. Farmers are practicing traditional method of using neem stick, metals etc. for finding the water resource in underground for digging wells. While they are walking with this stick on hand it will be rottate automatically at the place where underground water is surplus. Some farmers are using the magnetic stones for identifying water sources. Magnet is tied with a thread and held like a pendulum while walking over the fields. The magnet will rotate automatically at the place where underground water is more and this is taken as the indication for digging wells.

279 - 282 (4 Pages)
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15 Integrated Farming System –– A Pathway to Organic Farming

15.1. IFS Components Tested for Wetlands Area Allocation; In 1 ha of land 75 % - Cropping 10 % - Fodder cultivation 3 % - Goat shed 12 % - Fish pond Possible Integrations:

283 - 288 (6 Pages)
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16 Organic Paddy Farming

Paddy is cultivated about 45 m ha in India, less than 1% is under organic cultivation. 16.1. Varieties Good quality fine varieties like Ponni, Super ponni, insect and disease resistant varities must be selected for getting higher yield and returns. 16.2. Seeds Organically produced seeds only must be used. 16.3. Seed Treatment For 1 kg of seeds 20 g Azospirillum, Pseudomonas and 10 g Phospobacteria must be used with rice gruel. Panchagavya spray @ 1% for treating the seeds.

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17 Organic Methods for the Management of Phytoparasitic Nematodes

Realizing that nematodes cannot be eliminated, and that we must live with them, the overall goal is to keep the population density as low as possible. The economic threshold is the density of nematodes where the losses incurred exceed the cost of nematode management. It is not advisable to depend on a single method to control nematodes. Efficient management requires judicious and careful integration of several which will result in reduction of nematode populations. Important components of non chemical methods of nematode management program are considered in this chapter. 17.1. Organic Amendments Manure and fertilizer applications are essential part of growing any crop. Besides supplying required essential nutrients theyhelp in many ways directly or indirectly by suppressing harmful organisms including phytonematodes. The use of organic amendments against nematodes was demonstrated by Linford et al., in as early as 1938. FYM and cattle urine have found to reduce nematode population. Biogas plant waste slurry was found to be effective for nematode management. Compost of water hyacinth, oilcakes, cellulose amendments like sawdust, wheat straw, rice husk, rice hull ash, green manuring with legumes, green leaf incorporation are useful to keep nematode populations low. Non - edible oilcakes like those of neem, karanj, mahua, caster, cotton as well as edible oilcakes groundnut, mustard sesame, coconut have been recommended at 2 - 2.5 t/ha for reduction of root knot and other nematode population in soil. Miscellaneous substances like decaffeinated tea waste, rice hull ash, chicken manure, tannery and food and fruit processing waste, market and domestic organic refuse, dead vegetation and crop stalks, wood shaving, etc. have been recommended for root knot nematode management. Castor leaves (40g/kg) along with NPK at 75:25:37.5 kg/ha achieved reduction of M. javanica population on tomato.

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18 Organic Certification

In India, there are two accreditation systems for authorizing Certification and Inspection agencies for organic certification. National Programme on organic Production (NPOP) promoted by Ministry of Commerce is the core programme which governs and defines the standards and implementing procedures. National Accreditation Body (NAB) is the apex decision making body. Certification and Inspection agencies accredited by NAB are authorized to undertake certification process. The NPOP notified under FTDR act and controlled by Agricultural Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA) looks after the requirement of export while NPOP notified under APGMC act and controlled by Agriculture Marketing Advisor, Directorate of Marketing and Inspection looks after domestic certification. Currently 20 certification agencies have been authorized to undertake certification process. National Programme on Organic Production National Program on Organic Production (NPOP) was launched during 2001 under the Foreign Trade & Development Act (FTDR Act). The document provides information on standards for organic production, systems criteria, and procedures for accreditation of Inspection and Certification bodies, the national organic logo and the regulations governing its use.

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19 Success Stories

In food production remarkable progress has been made in the last fifty years in agricultural production and self – sufficiency (Food security) has been reached. Yet nutritional security seems to be a distant goal. With depleting natural resources and increasing threat to the environment, sustainable crop production is attracting the attention of the scientists, farmers and administrators. Due to over exploitation of natural resources and indiscriminate use of agro chemicals, green revolution also brought in quite a lot of miseries which focus the urgent need to have EVERGREEN REVOLUTION that is sustainable, leading to food and nutritional security to the rural poor. At this juncture it will be more appropriate to practicing organic agriculrure through the integration of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge in synergy with nature. 19.1. Eco-friendly Technologies for Rice Cultivation A sound package of eco-friendly technologies to grow rice is being successfully adopted by a few progressive farmers in Puliangudi village in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. “The technologies work well with indigenous rice varieties such as Kitchili Samba. The cost of cultivation is substantially reduced and the organic rice fetches a premium price in the market,” says Mr. P. Gomathinayagam, a pioneer in organic farming in Puliangudi.

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20 Steps to A Successful Organic Transition

The transition from conventional to organic farming requires numerous changes. One of the biggest changes is in the mindset of the farmer. Conventional approaches often involve the use of quick-fix remedies that, unfortunately, rarely address the cause of the problem. Transitioning farmers generally spend too much time worrying about replacing synthetic input with allowable organic product instead of considering management practices based on preventative strategies. Here are a few steps new entrants should follow when making the transition to organic farming: 20.1. Understand the Basics of Organic Agriculture and the Organic Farming Standards Since organic production systems are knowledge based, new entrants and transitional producers must become familiar with sound and sustainable agricultural practices. Transitional producers should be prepared to read appropriate information, conduct their own trials and participate in formal and informal training events. As mentioned, switching from conventional to organic farming is more than substituting synthetic materials to organic allowed materials. Organic farming is a holistic system that relies on sound practices focused on preventative strategies. Since there are often few organic remedies available to organic producers for certain problems, prevention is the key element in organic production.

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21 End Pages

Annexure I Common Queries in Organic Farming 1. How are crop diseases managed on organic farms? Soil-borne diseases are managedby improving organic matter and biological activity. Cultural, biological, and physical methods such as rotation, sanitation, pruning, and selection of disease resistant varieties are all part of organic disease management. Some natural substances, such as clays, and a few synthetic fungicides such as copper sulfate are permitted by National Organic Program Standards when used in conjunction with the farm plan and used according to the restrictions found on the National List. 2. What are the requirements for converting to organic dairy production? 2 Ways Animals from conventional sources must be maintained under organic management for 12 months prior to sale of any products as organic. Replacement animals may be added to the herd after a similar 12-month conversion period. If an entire, distinct herd is converted, a one-time allowance is granted to permit feeding of up to 20% non-organic feed for the first 9 months, followed by 100% organic feed for three months. If this type of conversion is made, all replacement animals must be managed organically from the last third of gestation.

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