What M S Swaminathan says now!

According to the book – “Environmental Concerns and Sustainable Development: Some perspectives from India” by Sakarama Somayaji and Ganesha Somayaji –

“The side effects of the excessive use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides are increasingly visible in the form of declining productivity, resistance to pesticides, widespread land degradation, and groundwater pollution”. Last year (seems in 2009), the state government drew up an ‘agro promotion programme’ based on the recommendations of a committee headed by eminent agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan pointing out that fertilizers and pesticides accounted for the highest input costs, it advised the government to encourage organic farming.”

Do you know who is M.S. Swaminathan? He is known as the ‘Father of the Green Revolution in India’. And the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of ferrtilizers/pesticides and irrigation are known collectively as the Green Revolution!!

Yeah! It seems over a period of time M S Swaminathan’s views have changed. It’s our turn now to choose and promote organic food for our and our environment’s benefit.


What is Organic Food and Why it is Important?

Organic food has become a buzz word specially in metro cities for healthy eater and environmentally conscious people. Its definitely great to have healthy eating habits for healthier life. But beyond eating more fruits, vegetable, etc there is a basic question of food safety and more importantly is our food nutritious enough. How foods are grown or raised impacts both our health and the environment. This brings up the question: What is the difference between organic foods and conventionally grown foods? Let us first understand –

What is Organic Food?

Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods of organic farming – that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents or chemical food additives.

Benefits of Organic Food:

1. Organic Food is Healthy and safe

Organic food is more nutritious and is much safer. It’s so simple to understand – Since organic food is not prepared using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it does not contain any traces of these strong chemicals and might not affect the human body.

Pesticides are substances that prevent or destroy pests, such as insects, plant pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, etc., that could have an effect on crops. A pesticide is a chemical or biological agent like a virus, bacteria, antimicrobial or disinfectant.

Why do pesticides matter?

Pesticides are poisonous – by nature they’re designed to kill. Pesticides can cause neurological problems, cancer, infertility, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, allergies and asthma, wheezing, rashes and other skin problems, ADHD, birth defects and more. Logic 101 says don’t eat poison, right? Why not go organic and avoid pesticides?

  • Children and fetuses are most vulnerable to pesticide exposure due to their less-developed immune systems and because their bodies and brains are still developing. Exposure at an early age can cause developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction.
  • Pregnant women are more vulnerable due to the added stress pesticides put on their already taxed organs. Plus pesticides can be passed from mother to child in the womb, as well as through breast milk. Some exposures can cause delayed effects on the nervous system, even years after the initial exposure.
  • Most of us have an accumulated build-up of pesticide exposure in our bodies due to numerous years of exposure. This chemical “body burden” as it is medically known could lead to health issues such as headaches, birth defects, and added strain on weakened immune systems.

** When parents-to-be choose organic food, their baby-to-be is exposed to fewer health risks **

Organic foods may have higher nutritional value than conventional food, according to some research. The reason: In the absence of pesticides and fertilizers, plants boost their production of the phytochemicals (vitamins and antioxidants) that strengthen their resistance to bugs and weeds.

2. Better Taste

Many believe that organic food tastes better than non organic food. The prominent reason for this belief is that it is produced using organic means which is more natural.

3. Organic Food Keeps Our Water Clean

Surface water runoff from non-organic farms and other non-organic food operations can deposit pesticides into lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. This can contaminate soil and drinking water supplies as well. Many pesticides don’t break down in water and may remain in the water system for years. Organic food farming methods help to keep water clean plus uses less water, thus preserving the earth’s water supplies.

4. Organic Farming builds Healthy Soil

To grow healthy food, we need to start with healthy soil. If soil is treated with harmful pesticides and chemicals, you may end up with soil that cannot thrive on its own and probably you then hardly have any option but to use chemical fertilizers. Natural cultivation practices are far better than chemical soil management.

5. Organic Farming Helps Combat Erosion

Not only does organic farming build healthy soil, but it helps combat serious soil and land issues, such as erosion. A major study comparing adjoining organic and chemically treated wheat fields, showed that the organic field featured eight more inches of topsoil than the chemically treated field and also had only one-third the erosion loss.