ORGANIC FARMING IN PAKISTAN
Organic Framing refers to the production of Crops, fruits, vegetables and other farm products by using organic farm inputs and avoiding external chemical base inputs. Organic Farm production techniques are sustainable and also have sustainable impact to ecosystem. Crops, fruits, vegetables and dairy products that are produced under organic farming are safe and healthy to eat.
Organic foods are rich in taste and more nutritious and also free from harmful chemicals and are healthy to eat. In some countries like Japan, fruits and vegetables produced from Shizen Nogyo (Natural Agriculture) are used to cure the various type of skin and other diseases. Results have revealed that continuous use of fruits and vegetables from Shizen Nogyo farm results in curing of various skin diseases and allergies. Conventional Farm products may contained carcinogens, chemicals having residual chemical effect on human body as a result of aggressive use of chemical fertilizer and sprays to control insect, pest and diseases etc.
ORGANIC FARM MANAGEMENT
In organic farming, growers used the various types of farming techniques and approaches mainly based on the locally available organic inputs and practices also varied from area to area. In organic production mostly operations are labor intensive and are likely to be more suitable for farmers having small land holdings.
In organic Farming focus is being made to maintain the soil fertility and avoiding soil erosion by adopting various farming practices that results in improving of soil properties and its characteristics are as follow
- Crop Rotation.
- Zero Tillage.
- Use of Mulch.
- Farm Yard Manure.
- Bokashi (A traditional Japanese Technique).
- Use of EM (effective microorganisms).
PEST AND DISEASES MANAGEMENT
- Use of Neem (local plant) Powder.
- Use of plants having pesticide properties as chilies, turmeric, etc.
- Use of Ash.
- In tunnels farming yellow shining sticky strips are used to catch the insects.
- Crop Rotation/ mixed cropping.
- Use of Allopathic plant extracts like sorghum, brassica, barley etc.
- Hand Weeding/ Mechanical Control.
ORGANIC FARMING IN PAKISTAN
In Pakistan organic agriculture is at infancy stage and still few number of established organic farms are present. Organic farming can play a vital role in poverty alleviation for small land holding owners as it requires more manual farming operations and no need to use expensive farm inputs.
At large scale the organic farm production can help in generation revenue from the export of organic products at national level.
Family labor can easily be involved in farm operations and farm production will be cost effective.
In 2008 directorate of organic farming was established by National Agriculture Research Centre with an objective to help small farmers and later on was upgraded to National Institute of Organic Agriculture. The main constraints in promotion of organic farming in Pakistan and measures to be taken by organic growers are briefly described as
LACK OF AWARENESS
In Pakistan people are not fully aware about the benefits of using the organic food products which results in sold of organic products in the same price as of conventional agri products in local mandi/ markets.
To create the organic food market in Pakistan, Established organic farm owners, growers and other stake holders should create an awareness campaign of promoting organic farming on social/ print and electronic media. Benefits of consuming organic farming products and its farming impact on ecosystem should be disseminated to public.
Organic Farm certification bodies are not easily accessible by small and medium level farmers and is a main hurdle in promotion and production of organic farming in Pakistan. Organic farm growers face difficulty in sale of their products on good rates as they don’t have proper proof and evidences to ensure the quality and nature of farm produced to be organic.
Government and agri extension departments should facilitate the farmers in certification of their organic products.
Organic Farm Growers can also maintain their farm operation record and also registered farms at National Organic Farming Institute. Farm owners can also manage field trips of farms to consumers in order to ensure them food quality and farm management.
Social media channels can also be used to market farm products and showing farming practices to public by videos and daily updates.
MARKETING OF ORGANIC FARM PRODUCE
Marketing of Organic Farm Produce in Pakistan is somewhat different from other localities. At present the established organic farms have already sale there products directly to big hotels in main cities. However the small and medium level organic growers should adopt innovative / unique ways of marketing and promoting organic products.
Organic Growers should target the selected health conscious audience from masses like doctors, patients, civil servants, media professional, senior citizens and business community that can differentiate between organic and conventional farm produce and able to pay the right price.
Organic Growers can registered farm brand and can have the display availability in mega super stores like Hyperstar, Metro, Macro, CSD etc.
Financial stable growers can opened farm produce business chains and can control and manage the organic food business from the production to end consumption.
Small and medium level farm owners can managed the direct supply at customer doorstep by adopting professional logistics / or self-managed supply. This will minimize the production cost by eliminating middle man commission/ broker profit and becomes cost effective for both producer and consumer.
The potential avenues of organic farming industry in Pakistan is not fully utilized and explored. New avenues of organic farming industry should be explored
- Organic Food Restrunauts can be opened for Health conscious people like senior citizen, patients, body builders, etc.
- Organic pet food market is also yet not fully explored avenues are available for pets/ birds organic food for pet lovers.
- Organic Input suppliers: Organic fertilizers like compost, Bokashi and farm yard manure can also be commercially manufactured and marketed as these inputs can also be utilized in conventional agriculture.
- Avenues of Organic supplier/ logistics can also be explored and becomes cost effective.
- Organic certification Lab can also be established by corporate investors as at present organic growers don’t have the proper access to certification facility.
- Training & Extension Services: As the organic farming industry is at infancy level in Pakistan and avenues for training and extension serviced to this sector can be explored.
By : Yasir Habib Rana