"Despite the many accomplishments of mankind, we owe our existence to six-inch of top soil and fact that it rains.” – Confucius
Sustainable agriculture is the efficient production of safe, high quality agricultural products, in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of farmers, their employees and local communities, and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species.
For a sustainable agriculture system, it is essential to use renewable inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, water etc.) which benefit the plant and cause no or minimal damage to the environment. One possible way is to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Chemical fertilizers are being used in increasing amounts in order to increase the output in high yielding varieties of crop plants. Chemical fertilizers are industrially manipulated substances composed of known quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and their exploitation causes air and groundwater pollution by eutrophication of water bodies.
However, chemical fertilizers cause pollution of water bodies as well as groundwater, besides getting stored in crop plants.
Modern agriculture is becoming more and more dependent upon the steady supply of synthetic inputs, mainly chemical fertilizers, which are products of fossil fuel (coal+ petroleum). Adverse effects are being observed due to the excessive and imbalanced use of these synthetic inputs. The soils have now become biologically dead. This situation has led to identifying harmless inputs like biofertilizers and biopesticides.
Environmentalists worldwide are pressing the market and society for a switch over to organic farming and biofertilizers. Organic farming aims to be a more environmentally sustainable form of agricultural production, combining best environmental practices, and emphasizing biodiversity protection and the preservation of natural resources. It also emphasizes high animal welfare standards and the avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Organic farming is one such strategy that not only ensures food safety, but also adds to the biodiversity of soil.
Organic farming is the raising of unpolluted crops through the use of manures, biofertilizers and biopesticides that provide optimum nutrients to crop plants, keeping pests and pathogens under control.
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi-ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.