'Time to return to natural farming'
By N Vinoth Kumar | ENS | Published: 26th June 2013 08:33 AM |
Carbon emission, popularly known as ‘greenhouse gas emission’, is on the rise in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. As recent studies have found, modern agricultural practices remain the reason for close to 35 per cent of this dangerous phenomenon. Hence, there is a need to return to natural farming, argues Ko Nammazhvar, a crusader for organic farming.
In his recently published work Bhoomithaaye (Mother Earth), he deals with a range of issues arising out of climate change and suggests that organic farming would help balance the situation. City Express caught up with him at a two-day workshop on the city outskirts.
Born in an agricultural family in Thanjavur, he developed an inclination towards farming and earned his graduation in Agricultural Sciences from Annamalai University. He then worked as a Research Associate at the Rain-Fed Crops Research Institute at Kovilpatti.
Absence of primacy for field work forced him to raise questions against the establishment and finally he quit the job to take a plunge into traditional farming. Presently, he runs Vaanagam, an institution engaged in promoting organic farming at Karur.
Bhoomithaaye, a collection of essays, is another addition to the books penned by this crusader, the release of which coincided with his 75th birthday. His earlier works on agriculture have been received well.
“Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, emitted by various industries and vehicles, turn into a ‘carbon belt’ in the atmosphere, through which solar heat enters the earth. Since the belt does not allow the heat that is to be released into the atmosphere from Earth, it gets locked up. This is called ‘global warming’ which in turn leads to climate change posing a threat to our survival,” said Nammazhvar.
In his view, modern agricultural practices contribute substantially to global warming, accounting for 35 per cent. “Rampant use of nitrogenous fertilisers has had a debilitating effect. The soil has sufficient nitrogen for the growth of a plant. Apart from the naturally retained nitrogen, chemical fertilisers with heavy nitrogen content result in the release of excessive heat. In organic farming, such chemical fertilisers are not used and so nitrogen level does not exceed the required parameters. Thus, our own traditional farming helps in nitrogen reduction which, in turn, controls the emission levels,” he explained.
“We have crossed the tripping point,” warned Nammazhvar, adding that the problem of climate change required immediate steps. “Even if we stop the greenhouse gas emissions today, it will take a century or even more to restore normalcy. At this juncture, there are only two ways to face this global menace: the first is mitigation and the second is adoption. Planting more trees falls under mitigation. In adoption, people are expected to adopt eco-friendly lifestyle,” he said.