As the debate about downside of India's green revolution spreads across the country, it's time to revisit the need for natural/organic farming. This is the only way we can help farmers to come out of vicious debt cycle and be independent in true sense!
First look at the main arguments put forth for the chemical based farming.
1. Organic/natural farming is unable to produce enough food for India's growing population
2. Native seeds/plants doesn't yield enough per acre food when compared to GM/hybrid seeds/crops
3. More scientific(?) than the old natural/organic farming!
4. Farmers' income would increase by the use of chemical fertilizers!
Corporate world is trying its best to target areas covered in first 2 points. First they need to debunk the theory of natural/organic farming saying it's not enough for growing population. Second they are trying to instill an inferior feeling in farmers' mind about their own native seeds/crops. Both of these are benefiting 2 sectors of corporate world.
1. Producing chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides etc
2. Companies who are into Biotechnology to develop genetically modified crops.
There's one more way to demoralize farmers that is to call their way of farming unscientific! We in India were following organic farming right from beginning! If you read Krushi-Parashara(http://www.saptarishisastrology.com/filedownload.php?v=7&a=y&b=n&f=54-Krushi-Parasharaha-1.pdf), which is all about agricultural practices, you would be astonished to see the level of understanding our ancestors had with respect to soil science, astronomy, monsoons, rain water harvesting etc! After thousands of years of foreign rule we lost interest in our traditions/practices and started asking for "Scientific reason" for everything without trying to put any effort in understanding the science behind the practices!
The last point is increasing farmers' income! Now if this was true, after 30-40 years of "scientific farming" using most advanced chemical inputs, farmers would have made it to "middle class" league at the minimum. But look at the condition of farmer across the country! Due to mono crop practice they grow only 3-5 major items(all are cash crops). Paddy ,Cotton,Sugar cane are the top 3 in that list! But even then every year farmer is getting into more debt, moving away from farming and worse committing suicide!
So why practice natural/organic farming? Let me quote D.V.G's Kagga to keep this short!
This is exactly what we do in summer. We try fan/a.c but when/if power goes off, we try with a paper or a book to get some cool air. Soon our hands ache and we try some other means. But naturally blowing wind will be much more cooler and satisfying than any man made stuff.
Applying this to farming, all we need to do is to replace the word "Sukha" with "yield"! we get the philosophy of natural farming & realize what's happening to the average farmer! Gives us reason why we shouldn't be trying to achieve higher yield with external inputs against the natural ability of a plant. Why it's always better to provide suitable environment with minimum interference and allow nature to take it's own course. This way farmer is out of debt, happy with income he'she gets and most of all move towards sustainable farming! Once the soil fertility increases, ecology of the farm is stabilized, plant yield increases and even if in case there's any natural calamity like drought, heavy rain, wind plants will be strong enough to withstand them all. Even in worse case if they fail to withstand, farmers won't be in debt and all they need to do, is to plant the trees again! There are 100s of examples in front of us where farmers are getting better yield just by using natural farming.and many who have implemented "forest" model to move into sustainable farming with good yield!
Enjoy your food!