Farming depends mostly on artificial chemical fertilizers and pesticides to restore soil fertility as well as to control pests. It is believed that approximately 4.5 billion litres of pesticides are used annually. Even though various advocacy groups and government agencies have expressed their concern on effects of artificial chemical fertilizers on human’s health, those who are involved in the industry couldn’t care less about the issue as these fertilizers help to double the food output.
Raising food output is the most important agenda to end hunger around the world. Besides, since fertilizers help to boost the amount of food output, that means it helps to double farmers’ earnings as well. But the fact that fertilizers can harm our health and environment remains a debatable issue for those would like double their crops in the shortest span of time and consumers who prefer to purchase safe and healthy food.
One of the first few farms in the world that puts organic farming into practice is Gloria Land Farm in Pondicherry, India. The farm incorporates method to induce soil fertility and diversify cropping patterns. Innovative pesticides technology are used to keep away pests and enhance productivity. Among some of the techniques used are to spray a mixture of water and garlic juice on cabbage patches or spread cow dung soaked in water for a day on vegetable crops.
Concept of organic farming
Since organic farming is a form of holistic agro-ecosystem health, food output or products must be recognized by an established certifying body. In Malaysia, Malaysian Standard, MS 1529: 2001 was developed solely for such purpose.
Basically, organic farming system is designed purely to enhance soil biological activity, preserve long-term soil fertility, encourage the use of soil, water and air while decreasing pollution and also improve biological diversity on the farm and environment as a whole.
Why organic food is better?
Is organic food better?
Here are some reasons why organic food is better compared to conventionally produced food. First of all, organic farming is better for wildlife. A report produced by Britain’s Soil Association showed that a typical organic field contains five times as many wild plants with 57 percent more species and the remaining 43 percent more birds in cultivated areas than a regular farm. So bear in mind that the next time you eat organic tomatoes or lettuce, you are actually helping to restore the wildlife.
In addition to that, organic farming is better for the soil. Studies revealed that organic fields have more weed cover and comprises 88 percent more ‘épigeal arthropods’. Studies also show that organic soils contains more soil microbes in which fungi can be found on the tips of plant roots that helps to absorb nutrients.
Organic farming is relatively better for animal reproduction. Based on 14 animal studies conducted, results demonstrated that animals that are fed with organic food fare better. Female rabbits that were fed on organic food have twice the level of ovum production while those that were fed with conventional food have lower fertility rate.
More importantly, organic food helps to fight cancer, heart attack, obesity and stroke. This is based on a study by a team of Scottish scientists who proved that organic vegetables contain about six times more salicylic acid compared to non-organic vegetables. Bear in mind that salicylic acid helps to prevent bowel cancer. All in all, since organic food is not using artificial chemical fertilizers, it does not have any chemicals that might affect human’s health.
Conventional fruits and vegetables you purchase contain less minerals and vitamins compared to organic food. Take conventional orange trees for example. Since the tress are fed with nitrogen fertilizer, the fruits are slightly bigger as it absorb more water but contain less vitamins. On the other hand, a French study show that organic food have more vitamins A, C, E and B as well as more elements of zinc, calcium and fibre.
Do you know that organic farming helps to protect the climate? This is because organically managed plot of land contains much more carbon than the conventional plot. Hence, with more carbon storage in the soil, farmers are actually doing their part in stopping global climate change.
Lastly, organic food is safer to consume. To date, many believed that breast cancer can be associated with chemical pesticides. For example, atrazine which is found in pesticides leads to breast cancer in rats and hing-limb deformities in frogs. In addition to that, a Finnish study showed that women with higher levels of lindane-like residue stored in their breasts are more likely to have breasts cancer (lindane is a form of pesticide).
Remember, you are what you eat! You and your family can be healthier as all it takes is to stay away from chemically grown food and start a daily diet of organic food.
Effects of fertilizers
Toxic chemicals found in artificial chemical fertilizers can be absorbed into the plants. These conventional food that contains lead, mercury, uranium and cadmium are risky and dangerous for our health as it causes lungs, liver and kidneys cancer. Meanwhile, when the chemicals seep into underground water, the water extracted for our daily consumption causes blue-baby syndrome and it may lead to miscarriage.
Organic Brands of Certified Vegetables in Malaysia
Here are some of the organic brands of certified vegetables in the country as accredited by Skim Organik Malaysia (SOM) – EM Bio-organic Sdn Bhd, GK Organic Farm, Hatiku Agrikultur, Cameron Organic Produce, Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm Sdn Bhd, Kenko Real Organic Sdn Bhd, LOVG Loh’s Organic Veg-Garden, N&N Farm Sdn Bhd, Ponak Plantations Sdn Bhd, Titi Eco Farm Resort and Zenxin Agri-Organic Food.
So the next time you purchase organic vegetables in hypermarket or supermarket, remember to spot the certified SOM logo on the packaging or the brands listed above.