Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Organic Farming and Herbicides

The crops had been harvested and among the lush green surroundings a patch of barren field with blackened weeds caught my attention. The green leaves of the weeds all turned black and even the grasses in the area were drying up. It is uncanny to see such things at this time of the year when plants thrive even on the most infertile soils and rocks due to continuous rain.

The villagers were using herbicides – a chemical which exterminate the weeds. It is so convenient for them to make the weeds disappear, by just spraying the chemicals and waiting for it to die and dry up, before tilling the field and planting another crop. What about the organic farming that we boast of? And what are its effects to the ecology and micro organisms?

I had preferred and bought the vegetables brought from the villages thinking that it is organic even when the qualities of the vegetables are not that impressive. Organic is supposed to be free of chemicals and in harmony with nature. Isn’t it? Or is it just not using the chemical fertilizer? Our villagers and farmers need to be educated on organic farming and it does not constitute about not using chemical fertilizers only. If the chemical is capable of killing the weeds it would be capable of many other unpleasant things.

I don’t know what the chemical that they used was, but it is soon going to become rampant due to the ease involved in farming. I have read about the ‘agent orange’ that the American forces used during the Vietnam wars. It was sprayed from the air to obliterate the vegetation. The ill effects of the chemicals can be seen now, with children born with deformities and genetic aberrations. The cause of which is attributed to ‘agent orange’ washed down and consumed through various means.

I just hope that the chemical that destroys the weeds at the villages is not ‘agent orange’. When I asked, I was told that the chemical is available across the border towns in liquid form. The stronger ones are costlier and it kills the insects too. The villagers being Buddhist goes for the cheaper ones, in order to avoid killing insects. It is doubtful how far they are successful in avoiding killing the insects, seeing the plants getting burned without turning into ashes.

The point is – how organic is the organic vegetables? The ignorance of the villagers needs to be eliminated by educating them and providing them with correct information. We have bodies in place and they would be doing it or must have already done it, seeing the barren patch. It would make anybody’s eyebrow to be raised and be inquisitive coming across a field filled with wilting and blackened plants, standing out like a sore thumb, in the midst of the greenery around.

In the mean time, the chemical is also found to be so effective in clearing the undergrowth in the orange orchards easily without having to cut down with the sickles, manually.