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Question – How does organic farming help in carbon sequestration? Examine the steps taken by Government to promote organic farming in India. – 28 April
We are all familiar with the fact that the amount of ‘carbon dioxide’ in the atmosphere is increasing gradually. In such a situation, the idea of collecting CO2 elsewhere rather than in the atmosphere is very important. It is worth noting that our earth can prove egoistic in embodying this idea. In fact, the storage of CO2 inside the Earth can be done in both natural and man-made ways. This method of transporting CO2 inside the earth by preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere is called carbon sequestering or carbon accumulation. On the one hand, carbon sequestration, where it is effective in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, can prove to be important for agriculture through organic carbon in the soil.
‘Soil Organic Carbon’ (SOC)
- The SOC consists of fallen leaves of the plant, dead organisms, etc., which are found mainly in the soil up to the first 1 m.
- Significantly, the soil contains about 2,300 gigatons of organic carbon, and that is why it forms the largest terrestrial carbon pool.
Measures to increase SOC:
- Indeed, there are many conditions and processes on which the variation in SOC volume depends, such as temperature, rainfall, vegetation, soil management, and land use patterns.
- Therefore, the increase in SOC depends on adopting sustainable farming practices that balance these factors. Measures to increase SOC are:
- Reducing soil erosion
- Adopt water harvesting
- Minimum use of direct tillage based farming method (No-till farming)
- Providing nutrient management
- Use of cover-crops
- Use of cow dung and waste
Government initiatives to promote organic farming:
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana(PKVY)
- It is the first comprehensive scheme launched as a centrally sponsored program from 2015-16.
- The scheme is implemented with the ratio of 90:10 in 8 NE states and, with 100% funding pattern is permitted in union territories and 3 hilly state- Himanchal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand. The remaining states are implemented with a funding pattern of 60:40.
- The farmer can benefit up to a maximum of 2 hectares, and the limit of assistance is Rs 50,000 per hectare, out of which 62% i.e., Rs 31,000 is given to the farmer as an incentive for organic conversion.
Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCD-NER)
- The scheme aims at development of certified organic production in a value chain mode to connect growers with consumers and to support the development of value chain starting from seeds, inputs, certification, to the creation of facilities for aggregation, collection, processing marketing and brand building initiative.
- Organic farming compliments carbon sequestration because it provides a sustainable alternative to organic mulching, without the use of artificial fertilizers with organic fertilizers. Organic mulching refers to covering the soil with any organic matter such as manure or field tillage manure on the soil surface and then adding a layer of dry organic matter.
- Therefore, organic farming is one of the best ways to improve soil fertility, which co-benefits the separation of carbon from atmospheric CO
Governments must accept ‘organic agriculture’ internationally as an effective strategy to reduce greenhouse gases and free carbon under the 2015 Climate Agreement. They need to help farmers adapt to climate change by promoting organic agriculture through research and extension services.