By Sambit NasipuriB.Sc. Agriculture (Hons.) Student (3rd Year)
Palli Siksha Bhavana (Institute of Agriculture), Visva Bharati
One day when man only saw that, if they only broadcast seed on the soil, plants are growing from the seeds, the science of agriculture emerged. Neither chemical nor any care, depending only on mother nature, crops were coming out from the hard soil. But today’s scenario has been totally changed, shifting from natural agriculture to artificial agriculture. Nature itself was rearing the crops previously, but today the process is hindered by several anthropogenic activities. The root of the problem named Agricultural yield depression lies here. COVID is one of the nature’s curse. Similarly, in the crop field the infestation of diseases, pest and weeds can be treated as the nature’s curse due to the “Chemical input oriented Agriculture” practiced nowadays all over the world.
Human beings are very desperate and always have tried to control the nature by any means. But they forgot that, mother nature can not be handled by anyone rather she will handle everyone. So the results became dreadful when men forced nature every time. Huge problems in the crop field aroused day by day when people started using chemical inputs uncontrollably in agriculture. The use of pesticides of course killed the pests temporarily; but on the other hand, those chemicals ultimately invited more dangerous pests to be evolved, resistant to the chemicals. People thought that they will survive from pests by discovering the resistant variety and newer chemicals to check them, but in long run it will not work. Because in future, the pests will build up some mechanism naturally that will not be possible to be checked, even with newer chemicals, and that will be imitation of mother nature’s curse.
Approximately 2 million tons of pesticides are utilized annually worldwide in the year 2019, where china is the major contributing country followed by USA and Argentina. Out of this number, herbicides sharing 47.5%, insecticides are 29.5%, 17.5% are fungicides and 5.5% are from others. In the year of 2020 it is almost 3.5 million tons. Indiscriminate use of chemical pesticide is causing bio-magnification. Resistance from chemical pesticides has already evolved in multiple species. Resistance to insecticides was first documented by A. L. Melander in 1914 when scale insects demonstrated resistance to an inorganic insecticide. Between 1914 and 1946, 11 additional cases were recorded. The development of organic insecticides, such as DDT, gave hope that insecticide resistance was a dead issue. However, by 1947 housefly resistance to DDT had evolved. With the introduction of every new insecticide class – cyclodienes, carbamates, formamidines, organophosphates, pyrethroids, even Bacillus thuringiensis – cases of resistance surfaced within two to 20 years. Studies in America have shown that fruit flies that infest orange groves were becoming resistant to Malathion. In the Southern United states, Amaranthus palmer, which was a weed of cotton, became resistant to Glyphosate.
Multiple-resistance is also occurring, pests are evolving to be resistant to more than one class of pesticide. This can happen when pesticides are used in sequence, with a new class replacing one to which pests have already displayed resistance. Cross-resistance, a related phenomenon, occurs when the genetic mutation that made the pest resistant to one pesticide also makes it resistant to others, often those with a similar mechanism of action.
So what should we do? The only way is open now to go along with mother nature. In the voice of Masanobu Fukuoka, practice the farming method commonly referred to as “Natural farming” or “Do-nothing farming”. No till, no chemical, only practice the indigenous cultures. Keep the plants as usual and don’t do any tilling, weeding, or pesticide application, don’t prune the tree, nature will look after it, all are the principles of natural farming. According to him, the system is based on the recognition of the complexity of living organisms that shape an ecosystem and deliberately. Farming is not merely production of crop, but it has more than that of aesthetic and spiritual approach to life. He had shown us how a new revolution in agriculture can be brought through natural farming. His plan to rehabilitate the deserts of the world includes one of the most practical solutions for feeding a growing human population. So, everything is possible if we respect and go through the nature. If we don’t disturb the nature, if we don’t hamper the balance and biodiversity; then nature will give us everything, including good agricultural production. Nature has own fertilizers, own capability to combat the disease, pests and weeds. Let nature give the chance to handle these by its own means as “nature is the best input for crop production.”
It will be really a great approach but ‘hard to adopt technology’ for the small and marginal farmers worldwide. It is also difficult to convince them to practice this kind of natural agriculture, but it is not impossible. Green revolution had been occurred long back and after that many agricultural revolutions have also taken place. But this is high-time to wake up for all and bring forth a new kind of revolution in agriculture, which will start a new era in agricultural sciences. The students, who are the future of the country, must play a vital role in implementing this kind of revolution.
Natural farming would require everyone, from farmers to scientists, to have fresh eyes, new enthusiasm and right kind of concern for their farm in order to come up with methods relevant to their own agricultural practices.
- Springer.com : Article “Worldwide pesticide usage and its impacts on ecosystem.”
- Wikipedia Masanobu Fukuoka and “One straw revolution”