Is Organic Farming Cost Effective (Farmers’ Perspective)
Organic farming has been proposed as an alternative for chemical-based conventional farming. Primarily it aims at cultivating the land and raising crops while keeping the soil alive and in good health. Many surveys and findings have found that farmers are reluctant to adopt organic farming due to the thought of low productivity and less efficiency. But is it true?
Let’s identify some economic benefits of organic farming
1. Low initial investment
As an organic farmer, you will avoid all the expenses for chemical inputs such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides, plant hormones, etc. You have to buy a good land and instrument that are required in cultivation as same as conventional farming. If you already have land and instruments, you will be free from that cost. Also, you have to buy seeds and other planting materials as same as conventional farming. Organic farming highly relies on organic inputs such as animal manure, crop residues, off-farm organic waste, compost, etc. which are freely available and can prepare at a low cost in India.
But for the organic certification process, you will have to spend some money. This certification is a must to sell organic products in the Indian market and it is the only extra cost in organic farming.
2. Low maintenance cost during the cultivation
Due to the usage of organic manure and nature-friendly farming practices such as crop rotation, soil, and water management has become easier. As findings, organic farming improves the soil properties (soil structure, texture, water holding capacity, nutrient content, Cation Exchange Capacity, etc.), decrease runoff, reduce soil erosion, etc. So it reduces the cost of soil tilling, water application, and other operations.
3. High demand and willingness to pay
The demand for organic produce is increasing constantly throughout India as well as the world due to the high quality. For the increasing demand for organic produce, rising awareness about healthiness has highly affected. Researchers have found that organic foods reduce the susceptibility to many diseases including cancers and cardiovascular-related problems. Due to that health benefits, people have tended to buy organic foods where ever they see without considering the cost.
4. Higher resistance to natural events
Since organic farming highly deals with the natural environment, once it established it can tolerate natural environmental changes such as climate changes, pests, and disease problems up to some level. Also, organic farming reduces the risk of economic loss due to having higher diversity among crops cultivated.
Since India has the second largest population in the world, the major concern with organic agriculture is that will it able to produce enough food to cater to the population and maintain the zero hunger goal. Although the yield is somewhat low compared to conventional farming, it is not the only factor that India is looking for in a food production system.
Although the yield is lower than conventional agriculture, premiums are high in organic farming. Usually, organic produce sold at a price of 20-30% higher than conventional produce. So although start-up is a bit challenging thing, in a short amount of time organic farming is able to be successful making higher profits.