|Published : 19 Mar 2017, 20:34:05|
In favour of organic farming
It augurs well for the nation that the government has now opted for organic farming in the country on a wider scale. A 15 per cent subsidy on organic food production, as decided, will help the cause. It is likely to promote agro-ecology. Now that the country has ensured food security, the authorities are apparently working on safe or chemical-free food production for the people. Even as per the Safe Food Act, organic food production is the only way for ensuring safe food. Besides, there is a plan to establish mobile laboratories in eight divisional cities to insure foods against toxic chemicals.
The word 'organic' basically refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed in safe soil without use of synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilisers. Bangladesh has huge potential of producing organic food and given the present entrepreneurial zeal of a growing number of agro-business entities, the country could have a share in an estimated US$65 billion global organic food market. Organic food is more nutritious, tasty and helpful for solving different health-related problems including cancer and heart ailment. But studies say, nutrients have decreased alarmingly in 3.3 million hectares out of 8.3 million hectares of arable land in the country. Plants absorb 14 organic chemical compounds from among the total 17 from the soil. All over the country, these chemical compounds are missing from soil. The main reason behind this is decline in organic elements of soil.
Organic fertiliser can ensure high yield. To produce this variety of fertiliser commercially, regular source of organic raw materials is necessary. Urban waste has been used for this purpose but it contains high amount of heavy metals. A survey found that 50 per cent of the land in Bangladesh suffers from deficiency in organic fertiliser. There are two reasons behind this poor condition. The concerned individuals do not know what amount of organic fertiliser needs to be applied in comparison with chemical ones. To ensure the right amount of fertiliser, it is necessary to do soil test of the land, which should be widely popularised in the country. If farmers can properly transform the existing supply of cow-dung into 'vermicompost', its effectiveness will certainly rise. Farmers need to be made aware of these simple but effective solutions and given adequate training and technological facilities.
There is no ready availability of raw materials for producing organic fertiliser. It has thus become necessary to promote organic fertiliser. The government should also give subsidy in this regard. Otherwise, there is no way rise in the use of chemical fertiliser could be held in check. Chemical fertiliser is also a major source of carbon emission. Neighbouring India has various government programmes to subsidise organic fertiliser production projects both at entrepreneur and farmer levels. But in Bangladesh there is no such support. As a result, large quantities of raw materials for organic fertilisers get wasted. The Department of Agricultural Extension has a crucial role to play in disseminating information, detailing do's and don'ts in this regard.