Genetically modified crops… Is it detriment..?

Organic agriculture involve natural methods such as crop rotation, biological pest control, compost etc. Genetically modified crops are a result of recombinant DNA technology or genetic engineering. Genes of commercial interest are transferred from one organism (also between non-related species) to another. Recombinant DNA technology allows plant breeders to generate superior plant varieties by bringing in useful genes from a wide range of living organisms in one plant. Foreign genes are introduced into plant genomes through two methods. The first is the Gene Gun method wherein DNA to be introduced into the plant cells is coated onto tiny particles, which are then physically shot onto plant cells. Some of the DNA comes off whereas most of the DNA gets incorporated into the genome of recipient plant. The second method uses the bacterium to introduce the gene(s) of interest into the plant DNA. This is commonly referred to as microbial genetics. Genetically modified crops have their genes altered in a way that does not occur naturally by pollination and or natural recombination. The natural process of pollination and or natural recombination falls under the category of genetics. Genetically modified crops are produced and marketed because of their benefits to both the producer and consumer. The potential benefits include higher crop yields, higher durability and nutritional value of the crops, reduced farm costs and increased farm profit. Genetically modified crops include rice enriched with iron, vitamin A, and E, and lysine, potatoes with higher starch content and inulin, allergen-free nuts, healthier oils from soybean and canola and maize with low phytic acid, increased essential amino acids. Such plants also have increased the level of crop protection through increased tolerance towards herbicides or resistance against diseases caused by insects or viruses. The safety assessment of genetically modified foods mostly measures parameters such as toxicity, allergenicity, the stability of the inserted gene, nutritional value and any unintended effects that could result from the gene insertion. The potential risks of genetically modified crops include unintentionally introducing allergens and other anti nutritional factors in foods, toxins affecting non-target organisms, pests evolving resistance to the toxins produced by genetically modified crops, and a likelihood of transgenes escaping from cultivated crops into wild relatives. Gene transfer from genetically modified foods to cells of the bacteria in human gastrointestinal tract would adversely affect human health, which is particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes get... read more

Organic Farming- a Boon over Conservative Farming

With the speedy changes in the agricultural techniques and rapidly growing demands of better produce, farming has entered into a new era of revolution. Although much divergence is there to be noticed in the production ranging from food quality to the soil protective measures, its derivations lie in the distinctive methods and techniques of agriculture. This consecutively grade up organic farming over conservative farming. A conservative or conventional method of farming suggests by its name itself that direct methods of farming and fertilizers have been used in this for getting better yields. Being an older method of farming, conventional farming uses pesticides, insecticides, artificial chemicals and fertilizers to promote production and avoid weeds and bugs. These aberrant farming practices not only grounds soil pollution, but also causes health issues in human beings and animals due to toxic chemicals used in it. Conventional food also lacks in nutritive values and can cause many deadly diseases after consumption. Alternatively, organic farming uses creative means of farming like crop rotation, the use of dead and decayed materials of plants and animals in the form of manure in place of fertilizers and evades the use of chemicals. Soil fertility is enhanced by the implementation of such natural practices of farming. Organic Farming is considered ecologically beneficial and do not cause any harm to the soil, human beings and animals. Organic foods are measured as rich in nutrition, as it does not contain any toxic chemical content in it. These are known to be a good source of digestive acids and anti-oxidants, which are highly valuable for human digestive system and resistive immune system. Thus, Organic farming is considered as a boon over Conservative farming and practice is still going on to popularize the advantages of organic food and keep people aware of the... read more

Organic Farming – Good for Nature

It is no secret that land is a scare commodity. The world’s population is growing by the day, our needs are growing by the minute, but the quantity of land is not increasing. That is why it is essential that we make the best use of it. How can we do that? The answer lies in organic farming. This type of farming makes judicious use of the crop cycles. The farmers use the same patch of land to replant many different crops throughout the year. That is why the returns from organic farming are not only healthy, but they are also good for the... read more

Standards to Effective Farming

Do you think that efficient farming or agriculture is only about increasing productivity? While this is true to some extent, there are other more important standards that define effective farming. In addition to enhancing productivity, efficient farming should be based on viability and sustainability. The improvement in techniques for farming essentially leaves its impact on both these factors. If farmers want to produce for and cater to a larger population, then they also need to be supported by governments in order to become more viable. Additionally, latest scientific methods of farming and modern equipment can support agricultural practices to become more sustainable for our... read more

Polyculture: the emerging trend

These days’ people are getting increasingly health conscious. They are reading every day about the ill effects pesticides and fertilizers are having on the food crops that are grown by traditional farmers. These ill effects are subsequently passed on to us when we consume those crops and vegetables. That is why those who can afford it are turning to organically grown food products. One of the methods of growing organic food products is through a method known as polyculture. In this method of agriculture farmers grow multiple crops in the same area. It is common for terms like multi-cropping, inter-cropping and alley cropping to be used in connection with this method of farming. It saves a lot of space and allows the farmer to make more money by growing certain crops in one season and other crops in another season. But like all methods of organic farming this also requires quite a bit of labour and this is where the farmer is likely to incur quite a bit of cost. However, there have been several reports that have been released that talks about how this method of farming allows farmers to grow crops that are a lot healthier. This is because the incidence of disease gets considerably reduced in this method of farming. And this goes a long way in increasing the yield that the farmer gets. Polyculture also helps in developing the biodiversity in that particular area. Land is an asset that is only available in a fixed quantity. It cannot be increased. We need to accommodate our needs in the limited space that we have been given. This is where such methods of agriculture have proven to be so beneficial not just for humans but also for the environment. Polyculture is a part of the larger field of permaculture. This is the field of study that analyses landscape patterns and functions. It asks questions like where a certain element goes and how can it be used for the benefit of the ecosystem. The methods that have been espoused by permaculture can be applied to rainwater harvesting and minimizing waste along with organic farming. Farmers will find that by using these methods they can use their area in a more productive manner. They will also find that the food they are growing is healthier and better. This will subsequently help in increasing the demand that customers have for their products since they realise just how healthy they... read more

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