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Ashwani KumarRSS Feed of this column.

Professor Emeritus ,Former Head of the Department of Botany, and Director Life Sciences, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. 302004, India At present freelance consultant with Bioenergia. Spain and... Read More »

Plants have a capacity to uptake minerals from the soil and use them for synthesis of their own cellular components. Plants are autotrophs and they can make their own food and human beings are heterotrophs; we have to get food from plants.

All life on earth depends on the energy captured by plants. How do plants discriminate among ions to be taken up by them? How do they "exclude ions" (or in simple terms if you allow me to put a corollary) "vomit out" , i.e., sodium exclusion from membrane? 

Today in a show on television called “Asar”, Mr. Amir Khan rightly upheld my point that it's better to eat slightly damaged or slightly infected fruits instead of eating totally shiny and infection-free fruits and vegetables and government representatives promised to check the contents of pesticides in the fruits and vegetables at a point before they are supplied to retailers in Delhi. 

What is organic farming and “organic food”? 

In the EU in many stores, particularly in Germany, there are shelves with the label “organic food”. To my surprise they cost almost double or one and half times the “normal food”.

Perhaps farmers in India or Japan or Europe some 1,000 years ago were doing the same: organic farming.  At the most this “organic food” could be food produced without inorganic fertilizers, without insecticidal spray with the help of organic fertilizers. 
Biodiversity loss and deforestation in tropical climatic conditions is sustained by the natural regeneration process during monsoon rains but what I observed this Saturday is not permissible or sustainable. 

I participated in the sad demise and funeral of our beloved grandmother in my extended family. I was deeply shocked to see that there was no wood available for making a funeral pyre.   It is a very touchy and emotional matter to discuss,  but what  I witnessed was the worst possible solution to this problem. Cow dung cakes were being used to make the funeral pyre.  

  Critics of organic agriculture claim it is too low-yieldingto be a viable alternative to conventional agriculture. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that poor performance is not an intrinsic property oforganic production, but rather the result of growing poorly adapted varieties.It is estimated that over 95% of organic agriculture is based on conventionally adapted varieties, even though the production environments found in organic vs. conventional farming systems are vastly different due to their distinctive management practices. Most notably, organic farmers have fewer inputs available than conventional growers to control their production environments.

When Sulphur, Copper and organo metallic pesticides were replaced by systemic fungicides and pesticides it was a great breakthrough. Cash crops like cotton attract maximum use of pesticides.

In a popular TV show in India, advice was given not to use pesticides and go for organic farming. Most of the villagers in earlier times were engaged in organic farming alone as they had no access to pesticides or fertilizers due to remoteness, lack of knowledge or paucity of funds. No doubt the government of India has spread the knowledge about agriculture to villages and now its quite common that villagers use both. However, more so in the case of cash crops like cotton, sugarcane or vegetables.