During the last several decades, the indiscriminate use of pesticides has broken the food chain and hence contributed to most of the problems faced in agriculture today. Research has proven that the high productivity levels once achieved through the use of chemicals cannot be sustained over the long term. The soil quality deteriorates with rampant use of fertilizers and pesticides. Within decades the soil becomes barren and unproductive.
The indiscriminate use of mechanization, heavy equipment, and fossil fuels (petrol and diesel) have also contributed to most of the problems faced in agriculture today.
Modern farming techniques have contributed to:
- Increase in vulnerability and dependence on external sources.
- Degradation of environment and soil quality.
- Increase in diseases
- Increase in profits of fertilizer and pesticide companies (almost 2 lakh crores, or $10.1 million is the annual fertilizer subsidy bill).
In contrast, using the cow as a basis for economically sustainable agriculture has only a positive impact on the environment. With only a pair of oxen and a cow, using natural farming techniques, upto ten acres of land can be cultivated for healthy organic produce. All the necessary inputs, including organic pest repellants, can be made using Gomaya and Gomutra. These techniques have been perfected and have been in vogue for several centuries. The cost of inputs is very low, leading to lower food prices.
For some, going back to traditional farming methods may appear to be an impractical step backward. However, consider the following:
- A lot of small farmers are losing money because of delays in getting equipment. When the tractor or the harvester is not available, work stops. There is no fall back option.
- Fossil fuels are definitely running out, and they will definitely get expensive. If diesel runs out, work stops. Once the fossil fuels are exhausted or become very expensive, most mechanized farm equipment will not be of any use.
- Tractors do not give cow dung and urine, both of which are major agricultural inputs.
- Organic farming enriches the soil.
- Organic farming produces healthy and wholesome food.
- Organic farming is as productive as, if not more than, chemical based farming.
- Organic farming reduces the input cost.
- Organic farming reduces diseases and medical costs.
- Organic farming improves quality of life.
- When development in sectors like roads and other infrastructure projects, which use most of the unskilled farm labor now, slows down, farm labor will have no other source of employment. In the meantime, they are losing their farming skills and knowledge.
India has been a land of surpluses in food grains, and cow-based agriculture has never failed us. The cow has been the basis of Indian agriculture for centuries. It is time that we realize the contribution of cows and go back to our time-tested traditional farming techniques for a sustainable future.
Traditional cow based organic farming is the solution for the future, and there can be no organic farming without a cow. Only cow-based agriculture can ensure healthy living and healthy, wholesome food and reduce the incidence of diseases, especially cancer.Many people like SubhashPalekar and Sunil Mansinghka are doing research on cow-based agriculture, which is economical, eco-friendly, without harmful effects on nature and living beings, and provides nutritious food.
However difficult it may appear, we must pursue this for the sake of our good future and food security. It is better to act now before we are forced to act.
Our goal is to establish model farming in every district in Odisha and show its benefits to motivate farmers to use natural and organic farming practices. Already in Odisha, Dr. PabitraPatnaik, a physicianfromBhadrak, Dr. DebabrataSahani, an ophthalmologist from Keonjhar, and Mr. NatabaraSarangi, a retired science teacher in Cuttack District have model farms.