The Development of Organic Farming Products
Mengenal pertanian organik. Foto: fulldronesolutions.com(Istimewa)
Organic farming is often seen identical with plant cultivation that avoids the use of pesticides or artificial fertilizers by any means. In addition, the plants are developed on a small scale and only enjoyed by a limited number of users.
The real definition of organic farming is an agricultural cultivation technique which is oriented to the use of natural materials without the use of synthetic chemicals, such as fertilizers, pesticides (except the permitted materials). Other cultivation techniques rely on increasing production, income as well as being environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Organic farming also means an agricultural system that sustains the health of plants and soil through the required cultivation of soil and plants by utilizing organic or natural materials as inputs. Apart from that, it avoids the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides except for the permitted materials.
The two definitions of organic farming above clearly reveal that organic farming still uses pesticides or artificial fertilizers which are allowed to use.
How to Develop Organic Farming
As cited from pertanian.go.id, the basic principles of organic farming as formulated by IFOAM, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) regarding the cultivation or development of organic crops, should meet the following requirements:
Make sure that the soil is free of synthetic materials. Therefore, organic farming can not be developed near any farmland which uses artificial fertilizers, chemical pesticides and other materials that are not approved for us.
2. Plant Variety
The varieties planted should adapt well in the relevant area, and have no negative impact on the environment.
3. Planting Pattern
Pay attention to the principles of soil and water conservation, eco friendly towards sustainable agriculture.
4. Fertilization and Plant Growth Regulator
Organic materials that can be used as fertilizers are as follow:
– Comes from the garden or outside the garden that is cultivated organically.
– Animal manure, crop residue compost, green manure, straw, other mulch, livestock urine, and other organic materials as long as they are not contaminated with synthetic chemicals or toxic substances.
– Artificial fertilizers (minerals)
– K2SO4 (Potassium Sulfate) can be used up to 40 kg/ha; lime, kieserite, dolomite, rock phosphate may be used.
– All growth regulators should not be used.
5. Pest Control
– Can not use artificial pesticides (chemicals), unless they are permitted and registered on IFOAM
– Bio pesticides are allowed
Advantages and Benefits of Organic Farming
Prof. Dr. Sylvia Sjam of Pest and Plant Disease Protection at Hasanuddin University emphasized the need to promote organic farming as a sustainable agriculture solution, especially for farmers.
“Pests and diseases are not only handled through synthetic pesticides, so are fertilizers which can be prepared by ourselves, at lower prices as well as more affordable, and healthy for the agricultural ecosystem,” Sylvia said in a discussion, as cited from mongabay.co.id.
According to Sylvia, if organically managed, plants are usually more resistant to pests and diseases. This relates to the fertility of plants that grow in a healthy soil.
“If the soil is fertile, the plants will grow much better. Plants will be more resistant to pests. If the fertile soil comes from the addition of organic materials, we assume the plants will get better nutrients,” she added.
On the contrary, if the soil contains a lot of synthetic materials, the microorganisms in the soil will not develop. In fact, microorganisms have an important function in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem.
“(Microorganisms) could function as bio decomposers. There is also a quality that can control diseases, but it could fail to develop because of the use of chemicals,” Sylvia explained.
“Farmers are urged not to use pesticides if not necessary. It requires assistance from the synergy of farmers, the private sector and the government. Farmers can also do crop diversification.”
Moreover, she highlighted the importance of ecosystem management in agriculture. In this case, the ecosystem is arranged in such a way that pests will never be in a population which can cause economic losses.
Facts of Organic Farming
Organic farming is not only cultivated on a small scale but also developed by large companies. Here are a number of facts related to organic farming as cited from medcom.id:
Pesticides are not completely forbidden for organic farming.
“There are about 25 chemicals which have been approved for use,” said Jessica Shade, PhD, Director of Science Programs at the Organic Center in Washington, DC.
“But before organic farmers can use those 25 chemicals, they have to prove that they have used every other method possible to control their pests and weeds,” she explained.
There aren’t many certified organic farms
While it may seem that we can find organic-based farms everywhere, only less than 1 percent of the 911 million hectares of farmland in the United States are certified organic, according to the Pew Research Center.
It’s not cheap
According to the USDA, organic products are priced about 10 to 30 percent higher. However, few studies have shown that the risk of ingesting pesticides on organic products is relatively very low, primarily because their thicker skins or outer coverings protect the inner part.
The top-selling products
According to the Pew Research Center, the top-selling products are cow’s milk, eggs, chicken, apples, lettuce, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, and corn.
There was no need for certified organic
Before the 20th century, a product did not need a certified organic as it was one way to farm. But in the 1940s, after World War II, nitrate factories that had been making bombs switched to producing synthetic fertilizers so that it required a certified organic to distinguish them with chemicals.
Organic Farming as Sustainable Agriculture Solutions
Organic farming has been more popular in society these days as healthy living becomes a trend. Many organic farming players have sprung up along with an increasingly open market share. Not only because of its high economic value, organic farming is important for repairing agricultural ecosystems damaged by the exposure to synthetic substances or chemicals that are used excessively.
In Bali, Prof. Sylvia revealed that to promote the organic farming movements, the local government has issued a regional regulation that Bali must produce organic products.
“They probably create a regional regulation because a lot of consumers from other regions love organic products. They are facilitated by the government for certifications to farmers so that their products become organic,” she said.
In addition to her role as an academician, Sylvia owns an organically managed farmland under the Presco Organic brand. It functions as a learning tool for the application of her knowledge as well as educational efforts in changing people’s mindsets.
It has been 10 years since she ran the organic business with many challenges. She’s still dealing with pessimistic people, even from academic circles.
Regarding the future of the organic plant cultivation business, Sylvia believes it has promising economic prospects, although it is managed in the limited land.
“The economic prospect is very favorable due to the price difference. Moreover, the costs of fulfilling organic fertilizers can be cut through the manufacture of self made fertilizers using the existing wastes. You don’t need a large area, especially for vegetables, because we only need to set a planting schedule. Planted in turns. Marketing will also be easier because it can be done through online marketing, such as Facebook and Instagram.”