Organic nutrition refers to growing crops without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. In relation to public health and effects on the economy of Pakistan, it is debatable whether organic nutrition should be encouraged.
Organic farming, if promoted on a much larger scale, would be beneficial and paramount to obtaining sustainable farming practices in the country. However, it is equally important to note that organic agriculture may not prove economically feasible due to the reservations regarding its cost and efficiency as compared to commercial methods of farming.
Implications for National Health
Organic nutrition removes health hazards that are caused by pesticide residues and excess nitrites that often remain in products of conventional farming. Organic products reduce public health risks by cutting down on exposure to toxic and persistent chemicals, not only for consumers but also farm workers.
Profitability of Organic Farming
Questions about the economic viability of organic nutrition result from the speculation that due to lower productivity, because of not using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it may not prove profitable to organic farmers. However, the higher price given to organic farm products does to some extent curb this issue. But conventional farming receives a great deal of support in the form of subsidies, research funding and developmental projects, which is not given to organic farmers.
According to a 2015 study on ‘The Public and Private Benefits from Organic Farming in Pakistan’ by South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics(SANDEE), these factors may attribute to why farmers have not yet adopted organic methods on a large scale.
Sustainable farming practices
The main advantage of organic farming is that it does not cause negative effects on the soil quality. Conventional farming practices, which dominantly use chemical inputs and high yielding varieties, cause degradation of the top soil and organic matter as well as a loss in soil fertility. Such methods also cause nitrogen leaching from the soil which causes a reduction in nitrogen levels at increasing depths of soil.
Furthermore, organic farming practices allow for more storage of water in the soil (Poudel et al., 2002; Muller, 2009).
It is important to note that these problems could have drastic consequences for future food security because the wheat-rice belt, that is the breadbasket of Pakistan and northern India provides food security to 500 million people. Therefore the importance of taking sustainable farming practices seriously cannot be overstated. The only way that organic nutrition can be spread to a large scale is through support from corporate research funding and subsidization.
Priority must also be given to developmental support for organic farming techniques so that they may prove not only economically viable for farmers but also to the national economy and the government must play its part in supporting sustainable farming for future soil fertility to be conserved.
Therefore, in conclusion, a strong case has been made for the positive impact that organic farming may have on public health as well as the economy. As mentioned, lower productivity issues related to organic nutrition may be resolved by the higher price it will obtain in the market. Further, should the government support research and development for organic farming methods, the issue of lower productivity may be solved.
- https://ota.com/organic-101/health-benefits-organic implications for public health.
- http://www.sandeeonline.org/uploads/documents/publication/1076_PUB_Working_Paper_99_Iftikhar.pdf why farmers have not yet adopted organic methods on a large scale, 500 million people(food security).
- https://www.cityfarmer.org/pakistanOrgFarming.html environmental impact of organic farming( reduction of nitrogen leaching).
- https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hafiz_Mahmood/publication/318262764_An_assessment_of_public_and_private_benefits_of_organic_farming_in_Pakistan/links/596c51b6458515e9afb1d5c7/An-assessment-of-public-and-private-benefits-of-organic-farming-in-Pakistan.pdf lack of profitability of organic farming.