Introduction to starting organic farming in Andhra Pradesh, cultivation practices: Organic farming is an agricultural system that uses organic fertilizers such as compost, green manure, and bone meal and emphasizes techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. It is a method of the farming system whose main purpose is to cultivate the land and grow crops in such a way that the use of organic waste (crop, animal and field waste, water waste) and others keep the soil alive and in good health. To be kept biological materials with beneficial microbes (bio-fertilizers) to release nutrients to crops to increase sustainable production in a pollution-free environment. The FAO advises that “organic farming is a unique product management system that promotes and enhances the agro-ecosystem, including biodiversity, the soil biological activity and mechanical methods in exclusion of all synthetic off-farm inputs”.
A guide to starting organic farming in Andhra Pradesh, cultivation practices, schemes, and certificaton
Organic farming makes healthy food, soil, plants, and an environment, along with good crop yields. Organic farmers use organic fertilizer inputs and management methods such as core crop and crop rotation to improve soil quality and build organic soil matter. Improving soil organic matter helps to absorb and store carbon, and other nutrients are required to grow healthy crops that are better resistant to some problems like pests and diseases.
Strategies for promoting organic farming in Andhra Pradesh
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for more than 60% of the population in Andhra Pradesh. About 19% of the state’s GOP is related to agriculture. The AP government is committed to formulating a comprehensive package and changing policy. To increase the income of farmers and make the sector competitive nationally and globally. In this regard, the Government of Andhra Pradesh plans to promote cost-input agriculture in the state in a wise manner.
Further organic farming will be strengthened in identified patches where agriculture is already organic by default, to take advantage of the production of organic produce which is in demand in the domestic and export markets. The government considered some strategies to promote organic farming in the state.
In Andhra Pradesh, 60% of the cultivated area is under rain-fed farming but the contribution of ion from this region is less than 40%, due to natural variations and poor soil fertility. Most farmers are small and backward. Organic farming will be promoted in rainfed areas where there is a huge gap between real and potential production. In Andhra Pradesh, rain-fed agriculture covers 6.4 million hectares. Organic farming is gaining momentum in Andhra Pradesh. Organic farming is gaining momentum, especially in the rain-affected areas of the state.
The net irrigated area in the state is about 3.6 lakhs hectares (40%) and it is a major contributor to the production of food grains in the state. The government is adopting an integrated approach to agriculture, which will not affect the state’s food production capacity. This is agriculture in which in addition to the rational use of inputs and recommendations according to the need of the soil, taking care of soft health is to take care of soft health in these areas through re-input and adoption or use of other organic methods.
Concepts of organic farming in Andhra Pradesh
Avoid the use of chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides so that chemical residues do not contaminate the soil, environment, and groundwater. Increase / maintain biodiversity and diversity between plants and animals. Properly recycle available farm resources. Much depends on the environment and local farming systems to control pests and diseases. Organic farming requires less financial and external inputs and is more dependent on natural and agricultural resources as inputs.
The organic farming policy in Andhra Pradesh aims to promote the use of organic fertilizers and help farmers achieve higher yields and prices. It is an agricultural process, controlling pests obtained from organic fertilizers and animal or plant waste. Farming began to respond to environmental disasters caused by chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers. It uses organic inputs like green manures, and cow dung, etc. Organic farming explicitly prohibits the use of synthetic or chemical fertilizers, herbs, and pesticides, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge, and irradiation. The state government has set up a committee to formulate the Andhra Pradesh State Organic Farming Policy, which aims to promote organic farming in the state.
The government has decided to increase the area under organic farming in the state to protect biodiversity and agro-environmental protection. Its basic principles are based on the elimination of chemical inputs and the use of locally available resources to reduce farmers’ dependence on input purchased from the market that could put them in debt. The effects of natural farming methods have not yet been fully understood, but preliminary evidence shows an increase in income through increased yields and lower production costs in some crops.
The Andhra Pradesh government is emphasizing the promotion of organic farming in the state with the following objectives. To make farmers less dependent on the supply of inputs and to adopt the cultivation of crops from available local resources and thus make farming less expensive and profitable for proper use of water which is very valuable. To improve the depleted soil of rain-affected areas through organic fertilizers so that they can respond to inputs and perform better even in dry conditions. Reducing the debt burden of farmers and enabling them to achieve sustainable status and self-respect, increase rural employment opportunities and prevent migration to urban areas, and bring about sustainable institutional changes in organic farming.
A group of organic vegetable farmers from Vijayawada and its environs come together to form the Farmers Producers’ Organization (FPO), which is called “Go Adharita Prakruthi Vyavasaya Paraspara Sahakara Sangham” and sells vegetables and other agricultural products. Started selling under the brand name “Amaravati Organic”. Trained farmers will be given a certificate declaring them organic farmers. The basic idea of this project is to reduce expenditure in agriculture and increase the income of farmers. The project aims to promote natural fertilizers such as cow dung in agriculture and eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Soil management for organic farming in Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh is rich in a variety of soils. Soil classification in Andhra Pradesh;
There are five main types of soil in Andhra Pradesh. They are;
- Red soils
- Black soils
- Alluvial soils
- Laterite soils
- Saline soils
Organic farming begins with soil – Balance soil fertility to maintain organic farming practices, replenish and produce healthier and better-tasting crops. Organic farmers use an array of cultural and biological methods to build soil health, weeding, and pest management and increase biodiversity. Some examples of organic farming methods include;
- Crop rotations suppress disease and help beneficial insect communities.
- Cover the cropping to fix nitrogen and check for soil erosion.
- Use of bio-fertilizer, green manure, vermicompost, EM, etc., to increase soil microbes and provide nutrients to plants.
- FYM, compost, and vermicompost are used to build organic matter and to manage weeds and manure.
- Use of bio-pesticides and mechanical control for pest and disease management.
Soil and water conservation methods in organic farming – Various soil and water conservation methods such as contour bunding, trenching-scooping, water harvesting, cultivation across the slope, and mulching, etc., are extremely useful in preserving nutrients on-site. Not following such methods to the detriment of organic farming is due to the loss of naturally available nutrients and loss of crop yields in the cut soil. These measures also help protect water. Preserving soil moisture contributes to more microbial activity, which in turn helps build organic carbon. Therefore, the practice of organic farming will be combined with different soil and water conservation methods. The government will encourage organic farming in all watershed development areas and finance soil and water conservation measures through watershed development programs.
How do organic farming practices improve soil and water quality?
Biological forms of fertilizers such as compost, animal manures, and the use of crops covered with pulses make up the soil organic matter, even when routine cultivation is used for weed control. The formation of soil organic matter increases soil water retention and nurtures more active soil microbial communities that retain nitrogen in the soil longer and convert it into non-leachable gaseous forms. That better soil quality affects the ability of crops to fight pests and to fight or eradicate plant diseases. Organic fertilizer sources release their nutrients slowly over time, providing more opportunities for nitrogen to be digested by soil organisms and taken up by crops before going below the root zone. Increased soil organic matter in the soil leads to rigorous nutrient cycling and the ability to hold more water in organically managed soils, resulting in half the nitrate emissions from groundwater to traditionally cultivated soils. Organic management causes a half-yearly nitrate leaching loss in fields compared to conventional management areas.
Advantages of organic farming in Andhra Pradesh
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The following are some of the benefits of organic farming.
- One of the major benefits of organic farming is its wide-ranging impact on community health and hygiene, and it meets non-standard lifestyles that rely on science and technology. This protects farmers from the devastating effects of chemical pesticides on their health.
- Organic farming not only checks soil erosion and pollution, thus preserving its products which will be disastrously affected by the use of urea and pesticides but also improve soil structure and fertility.
- Crop rotation helps maintain biodiversity while promoting biodiversity as well as providing free nutrients.
- Organic farming is very economical in India, it does not use any expensive fertilizers, pesticides, HYV seeds for planting crops. There are no costs involved.
- By using cheap and local inputs, the farmer can earn a good return on investment and this is one of the important benefits of organic farming.
- Organic products are in high demand and can generate more revenue through exports.
- Organic products are more nutritious, tasty, and healthier compared to chemical products. Organic farming in India is very environmentally friendly, it does not use fertilizers and chemicals.
- Organic farming generally requires more labor for farm activities than conventional farming, so it creates more jobs. Crop rotation, non-chemical pest control, weeds, mixed farming, processing, cleaning of grain necessitated by damage caused by insects and direct marketing, etc., require more hands or manual labor. It can also boost women’s employment, especially in rural areas.
Key characteristics of organic farming in AP
Important features of organic farming are;
- Maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and protecting soil long-term fertility from careful mechanical interventions.
- Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen, as well as efficient recycling of organic matter including crop residues and livestock manure.
- Disease, weed, and pest control rely on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties, and limited (preferably minimal) thermal, biological, and chemical intervention.
- Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider environment.
Goals and objectives of organic farming in Andhra Pradesh
- Improving farmers’ livelihoods with a special focus on the state’s small and backward farmers and landless poor – focusing on reaching 5,500 farmers directly in the state’s 1,500 villages.
- All the farmers of the state, especially the small and marginal farmers should get a lucrative livelihood from agriculture (agriculture and allied). The vision is that there should be no problems in agriculture. This goal will be achieved in stages.
- The AP government has developed a comprehensive strategy to deal with the crisis. In the first phase, it is planned to reach 5,00,000 farmers in 1,500 villages in all 13 districts. Work has started in 704 villages in 131 clusters, covering all 13 districts. This deep phase will last for 5 years in these clusters.
- The project is being funded by the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) program in collaboration with the government of India.
- Seeds are an important factor in increasing agricultural production.
- The performance and efficiency of other inputs depend on the quality of the seed. Certified / standard seeds play an important role in achieving higher yields.
- Therefore, the supply of quality seeds to farmers is the most important intervention to increase the production and productivity of any crop. To bring more area under cultivation, it is necessary to provide certified or standard seeds to the farmers at affordable prices and in reasonable quantities.
Crops cultivated under organic farming in Andhra Pradesh
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Rice is an important food crop and the staple food of the state which contributes about 77% to the total grain production. Other important crops are Jowar, Bajra, Maize, Ragi, Small Millet, Pulses, Castor, Tobacco, Cotton, and Sugarcane.
Horticultural crops include Peppers, Tomatoes, Mangoes, Papayas, Bananas, Flowers, and Coconuts, etc. Under animal husbandry, it produces fish and poultry products. 62% of its population is dependent on agriculture and allied activities. About 85% of its farmers are small and marginal. According to the National Sample Survey Organization, Andhra Pradesh has the highest share of the country’s indebted agricultural households, at 92.9% of agricultural households.
Some organic agriculture outcomes;
- Promoting agriculture in harmony with nature.
- Reduce farming costs.
- Reducing risks.
- Increase in production, both in the short and long run.
- Rising prices for farmers, increasing soil fertility, soil biology.
- Promoting biodiversity.
- Increasing resilience to climate change.
- Healthy chemical-free food for all consumers.
- In addition to rural employment opportunities, there are benefits through premium prices for chemical-free production, better soil health, climate change resilience, and consumer health.
Organic farming can be promoted on a large scale in tainted areas where productivity is yet to be demonstrated and soil fertility needs to be improved. The government’s goal is to promote organic farming to ensure that quality and safe food is available for agri-rural communities, our urban areas leftover if any for export of the following,
- Fruits – Mangoes, Bananas, Citrus, etc.
- Spices like Chillies etc.
- Foodgrains – Rice, Pulses.
- Planting crops – Cashews, Coconuts.
- Medicinal and aromatic plants.
- Cash crops like cotton.
Organic vegetable production has good potential because it has a good local market and is in demand by the people.
Government support for organic inputs
Organic farming systems rely on the management of organic matter to enhance the chemical, biological and physical properties of the soil. One of the principles of soil fertility management in the organic system is that plant nutrition depends on biologically derived nutrients. For this, plants need to release nutrients. Improved biological activity plays a key role in suppressing herbs, pests, and diseases. The addition of organic matter from agro-industries through crop residues, animal dung, green manures, bio-fertilizers, and bio-solids improves and enhances biological activity.
The basic requirement in organic farming is to increase the efficiency of input use at every stage of the farm operation. The development of many compost production technologies such as vermicomposting, microbial mediation, phospho composting, and N-enriched phospho composting, etc., improves the quality of compost by enriching it with additives.
In organic farming, pests are managed using cultural or agronomic alternatives, mechanical alternatives, biological alternatives, or organically accepted chemical alternatives. Organic farming generally involves biological or organically accepted farm forms such as Bio-formulations, Bioagents, Botanical formulations, traps, and lures, etc. The government will support inputs for farm production or local production of inputs needed for organic farming.
Objectives of the organic farming policy in Andhra Pradesh
The Government of Andhra Pradesh is emphasizing the promotion of organic farming in the state with the following objectives;
- To improve soil fertility and productivity.
- To make farmers less dependent on the supply of input, adopt crop cultivation from available local resources and thus make farming less expensive and profitable.
- For fair use of water which is very valuable.
- Improving the depleted soil of rain-affected areas with the addition of organic matter so that they are responsive to input and perform better even in drought conditions.
- Reducing the debt burden of farmers and enabling them to achieve sustainable status and self-respect.
- To increase rural employment opportunities and prevent migration to urban areas.
- Facilitate ‘Soil Help Groups’ among farmers to meet their needs.
- To keep the environment safe and free from pollution and to protect the health of humans and animals.
- Make appropriate institutional changes in organic farming education and research.
Status and opportunities for organic farming in Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh is a state with a highly diverse agricultural production system with long coastlines, diverse agro-climatic zones, diverse lands, natural vegetation, and farmers who work hard and have an innovative mind and thus organic possibilities have unlimited possibilities. Farming methods without affecting existing food production. The state has the potential to adopt organic farming and the government is planning carefully to take advantage of current opportunities.
Mango is being grown organically in some areas in Srikalam, Krishna districts. Similarly, Coffee in Visakhapatnam district, Soapnut, Amla, and medicinal plants in Prakasham districts are grown organically.
In Andhra Pradesh, tribal and forest areas are areas where cultivation is already underway without the use of chemicals and government. The aim is to convert them into organic areas and to plant medicinal, aromatic, and planting crops there as part of the area’s farming system.
Andhra Pradesh Organic Development Board (APODB)
The Andhra Pradesh Organic Development Board (APODB) will be set up with the primary objective of promoting the organic farming system in the state. APODB will coordinate with adequate human resources, bring scattered organic activity under one roof and lead the organic farming movement in Andhra Pradesh. APODB will liaise with all stakeholders for the overall promotion of organic farming.
The objectives of the Andhra Pradesh Organic Development Board are;
- Promoting organic farming in the state.
- Bringing all the organic initiatives of the state under one umbrella.
- Farmers act as a bridge between farmers and the government.
- Provide single window access to market, industry, and other stakeholders.
- Coordinating with national and international organizations in all matters relating to organic farming.
- Access to funds, grants, and other finances for various organic activities.
Weed management in organic farming
The main purpose of organic farming is to remove weeds. Weeds are an unwanted plant that grows with the harvest. Weeds Sticking with nutrients of the soil affected the production of the crop.
There are two techniques that solution to the weed;
Moving or cutting – Cut the weed in the process.
Mulching – In this process, farmers use plastic film or plants for residue on the ground surface to prevent weed growth.
Export promotion for organic farming in AP
The government will assist in the processing, packaging, and storage of organic products for export purposes. The Andhra Pradesh Organic Development Board will take all necessary steps to promote the export of organic products are;
- Process for the export market and development of value-added items.
- List and documents of commodity traders, agencies, terminal markets, and export agencies.
- Providing producers with information on the export potential of various products.
- Arrange a meeting with producers and international buyers.
- Attend international fairs and exhibitions.
- The export potential of organically grown horticulture crops like Mango, Sweet Orange, Banana, Cashew, Coconut, Chillies, Turmeric, Vegetable crops will be tapped besides other crops.
Organic certification in Andhra Pradesh
It can be defined as the process of agricultural and natural products and is recognized in the markets as certified organic products. Overall, organic operations must report that they are conserving natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances. The main purpose of using all these methods is to protect the environment, improve biodiversity, minimize soil degradation and production to promote healthy environmental conditions.
The certification required for organic farming is “organic” and is an important part of organic farming. A set of guidelines must be followed to obtain organic certification. To obtain organic certification, synthetic chemical devices such as fertilizers, feed additives, pesticides, antibiotics, and genetically modified seeds should be avoided. Certified organic producers proceed without risk because they have certified organic products.
Requirements change from country to country and include a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging, and shipping that includes;
1. Avoid the use of synthetic chemical inputs (such as fertilizers, insects, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives), irradiation, and sewage sludge.
2. Avoid genetically modified seeds.
3. Use of farmland that has been free of prohibited chemical inputs for many years (often, three or more)
4. Adherence to some specific requirements for livestock, feed, housing, and breeding.
5. Physical separation of organic products from uncertified products.
6. Periodic inspection on site.
Organic food products manufactured and exported from India are marked with the India Organic Certification Mark issued by APEDA.
Organic farming schemes in Andhra Pradesh
National Organic Production Program (NPOP) – The NPOP certification is a system of process certification in which an independent organization reviews the entire production, processing, handling, storage, and transportation process to ensure compliance with organic standards.
NPOP or National Program for Organic Production is a program under the Government of India that provides the licensing procedures for organic production, systems, standards and certification bodies, the national (India Organic) logo, and the rules governing its use. The NPOP regulations are in line with other international standards for the import and export of organic products.
The NPOP includes the following;
- Permission for organic products certification
- Authorizing of certification programs run by Ion bodies
- Standards that are nationally recognized for organic farming and processing
- Certification policies of natural products as directed by the Department of Commerce.
Obtaining NPOP certification means that you can sell your organic products under NPOP supervision, and you can enjoy all the benefits associated with it. Also, the sale of certified organic products ensures that consumers are buying and using authentic organic and healthy food products. The main objectives of NPOP are as follows;
- Provision of methods for review of certification programs for organic agriculture and associated products including wild harvest, aquaculture, and livestock products as per the approved criteria
- Under this program, recognizing certification programs of Certification Bodies who are seeking recognition
- Certification of organic products after certification with NPOP
- Also, certification of organic products that are to be exported after consultation with the standards of the importing country or by the general rules
- Promoting organic farming and processing of organic products.
BPKP (Bharatiya Prakrit Krishi Padhati
Under PKVY’s Bharatiya Prakritak Krishi Padhati (BPKP), natural farming has been promoted to encourage the use of natural inputs on farms for chemical-free farming. Andhra Pradesh has taken over 1 lakh hectares for the promotion of natural agriculture under BPKP. To promote traditional indigenous methods, the government is implementing the Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP) from 2020-21 as a sub-scheme of the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
The scheme emphasizes the elimination of all synthetic chemical inputs and promotes biomass recycling on farms with great emphasis on biomass mulching; the use of cow dung urine formulation for plant-based preparation and the periodic application of soil for aeration.
Under BPKP, financial assistance of Rs. 12,200 per hectare is provided for cluster formation, capacity building, and continuous handling, certification, and residue analysis by trained personnel. Natural farming is promoted as BPKP.
About PKVY (Prampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana) – The PKVY major project is a detailed component of the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) Soil Health Management (SHM). Under PKVY, organic farming is promoted through a cluster approach and the adoption of organic villages through PGS certification. The concept of the scheme is to promote commercial organic production through certified organic farming.
Program Implementation – Under the scheme, 50 or more farmers will form clusters of 50 acres for organic farming. Thus, 10,000 clusters will be formed over three years, covering an area of 5.0 lakh acres under organic farming. Farmers will not be liable for the cost of certification. One lakh rupee will be provided to each farmer. 20,000 per acre in three years for harvesting seeds and bringing products to market. Organic farming will be promoted through traditional means and organic products will be linked to the market. This will increase the certification of domestic production and organic production by involving farmers.
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