Organic Farming in Punjab: An Economic Analysis

Article excerpt

Introduction

Most countries have tradinally utilized various kinds of organic materials to maintain or improve the tilth, fertility and productivity for their agricultural soils. The burgeoning population pressure has forced many countries to use chemicals and fertilizers to increase the farm productivity for meeting their food requirements. The prolonged and overuse of chemicals has, however, resulted in human and soil health hazard and pollution of the environment. Along with this environmental crises, there is a crisis of un- sustainability of the present industrial chemicalized agriculture. Two dimensions of this human crises are the suicides of farmers and the growth of hunger and malnutrition. The agrarian crisis leading to farmers suicides is a result of debt and debt is a result of the convergence of rising costs of non sustainable and inappropriate production system and falling prices of agricultural products due to unjust and unfair trade patterns (Shiva Vandana 2007). Hence, we need an ecological paradigm of agriculture, based on biodiversity and agroecology.

Bio-diverse organic farming can solve all aspects of the ecological crisis caused by industrial agriculture. Toxic pollution can be avoided because no chemicals are used in organic farming. It is also an economically sustainable production system. Bio- diverse organic farming address both dimensions of human crisis. It lowers cost of production by getting rid of chemicals and un-necessary mechanization, thus helping farmers to earn more and escape the dept trap.

In the light of these, it becomes pertinent that an in-depth impact assessment study be carried out to gather first hand information on the above issues.

So the present study has been carried out with following objectives:

To make a comparative analysis of organic farming with modern chemicalized farming in terms of cost of production;

To estimate returns of organic farming to farmers as compared to other farming methods; and

To suggest suitable policy measures related to organic farming.

Materials and methods

In order to accomplish the objectives of the study, the primary data were collected. The data pertained to the agricultural year 2004-05.

The study was conducted in four districts of Punjab State: Ferozepur, Bathinda, Patiala and Roper where organic farming is actively under taken. Three-stage- stratified-random sampling technique was adopted for the study. The three stages of selection were comprised of development block as the first stage sampling unit, village as the second stage unit and the operational holding as the third stage unit respectively.

In order to make comparative study of organic and chemicalized farming, four farmers practicing chemicalized farming were selected, in each village. Therefore, a total sample of 256 farmers (128 organic+128 chemalized) covering 32 villages, eight blocks and four district of Punjab was finally chosen for the ultimate analysis. Primary data was collected from respondents directly using detailed questionnaires. Student t- test was used to analyse the data.

Results and discussion

The cost and returns of organic and inorganic farming has been analyzed. Finally, the efforts have been made to examine the factors affecting the status of economic surplus of the organic and inorganic farmers.

The production pattern of respondent farmers was dominated by paddy-wheat crop rotation. So the cost and return structure of paddy cultivation will be discussed under different heads.

Human labour use pattern on different operations in inorganic and organic paddy

It is clear from the Table-1 that nursery raising utilized 8.42 hours in inorganic farming and 8.11 hours in organic farming. Land preparation utilized 4.59 hours in inorganic farming and 4.17 hours in organic farming. Whereas transplantation utilized 41. …