Nature, they say, is the best teacher.
The cycle of nature is wonderfully designed to optimize the usage of all natural resources without having to involve any external push or factor to promote or enhance any of its outputs. Along the same lines, nature is also the best example of a circular economy. Everything from nature is used again to enhance its working and operation. Natural farming is hence understood to be a diversified farming system which integrates crops, trees, and livestock with functional biodiversity.
So, what exactly is natural farming?
Natural farming as the name suggests is nothing but a farming practice where the entire process is in sync with how nature works. Each and every step complements the natural environment and requires absolutely nothing to be added or included from any external source.
Ages ago, natural farming was the only way of farming. However, with the advent of the green revolution, in order to maximize produce in little time, the traditional practices were disowned or discarded by farmers. The immediate result was certainly very satisfying and pleasing since in a short span of time, acres and acres of land were yielding produce that doubled profit and production. In a country like India, where the ever-increasing population demands more output growth, farmers have resorted to different farming techniques that are laden with chemical fertilizers and pesticides that has greatly contributed to soil degradation, groundwater contamination and increase in diseases. With so many cons in the modern technique of farming, natural or traditional farming is what a lot of farmers are going back to. In the long run, natural farming aids in better soil quality and increase in the level of ground water. Apart from that, it greatly supports the nearby flora and fauna and is suited for the local climatic condition. The natural biodiversity is allowed to grow and thrive. Crops are grown around the existing biodiversity and whatever is available locally is used to enhance the production capacity of the land. Needless to say, this process is also great for pollination and naturally doubles food production and helps in achieving food security.
Natural farming is a thorough process that brings with itself a host of benefits. It decreases the dependency on externally purchased products and input. It relies largely on what is available in the nearby areas and involves on-farm biomass recycling with major stress on biomass mulching, use of on-farm cow dung-urine formulations. At regular intervals soil aeration is required to improve the soil quality and recirculate the nutrients present in the soil. Natural farming has proven to help smallholder farmers from credit burden. Not just that, it lets farmers be creative and design a system that actually works for all seasons and helps farmers remain in their villages and not gallivant in cities in search of jobs.
Several studies have shown that natural farming increases yield, drives sustainability, reduces water consumption, improves soil health, and betters the farmland environment. It is regarded as a cost-effective farming method with the potential to increase employment and rural development.
Taking into careful consideration our present-day circumstances, it is safe to say, the cost of human intervention in the process of nature has had a detrimental effect. Climate change is no longer a concept of the future but a battle we’re fighting today. One of the areas that is most adversely affected by it includes food security and the overall quality of the nutrition it provides us with. It is thus imperative to fight climate change keeping in mind the food-oriented needs of the present and the future generations. It is now more than ever, that we have to make a conscious decision to switch to natural farming to reduce our carbon footprint and revert to natural methods of farming to do our bit in the war against climate change.