Facts About and Principles of Natural Farming Technique
For the non-technical person, the concept of natural farming may easily be confused with organic farming. Natural farming is a farming technique that brings the soil and environment back to its original form. Nature works for the production of its needs. Organic farming, on the other hand, is a farming technique that uses organically produced fertilizers as the means of fertilizing the soil. Pesticides and fungicides may also be applied when needed.
History of Natural Farming
Natural farming was advocated way back in 1935 by Mokichi Okada, a Japanese philosopher and holistic health advocate, as an alternative to the conventional, highly chemical dependent farming method. It aims to produce food that is safe and free from harmful chemicals and toxic materials. It respects nature and brings out the natural strength of the soil.
Almost 50 years later, a much more familiar term related to natural farming came up. This is the so-called "effective microorganisms" or EM, a concoction developed by Dr. Teruo Higa. EM consists of mixed cultures of naturally-occurring microorganisms like lactic acid bacteria, yeast and smaller numbers of photosynthetic bacteria, among others which are compatible with one another in a liquid culture. The liquid culture can be applied as inoculants to increase the microbial diversity of soils and plants. Research has shown that EM can improve soil quality, soil health, and the growth, yield, and quality of crops.
Natural farming in Africa (Image Source)
Advantages of Natural Farming Over Organic Farming
Natural farming technique has several advantages over organic farming. in horticulture, for example, the profit could be high and production will increase annually. Engagement In organic farming can also bring in high profit, but profit can be eaten up by the high amount of inputs. Productivity in organic farming is low and slow while in natural farming, high production can be sustained.
Principles of Natural Farming
So what are the principles behind natural farming? Why is it a more desirable farming technique than organic farming? Here are the seven principles behind this highly productive and sustainable farming approach:
1. Natural farming uses the nutrients contained in the endosperm of seeds. Endosperm is the tissue produced in the seeds of most flowering plants. It provides nutrition (starch, oils and proteins) to the growing plant embryo.
2. The technique uses indigenous and beneficial microorganisms (IMOs) in natural environments to digest decaying matter. It enhances the proliferation of IMOs in order to effectively utilize available nutrients.
3. It maximizes the inherent potential of crops.
4. Natural farming does not require tilling of the land thus less labor is required.
5. It does not use herbicides.
6. It prevents foul emissions from livestock waste water.
7. It maximizes crop potential wherein relatively lesser seeds are needed while reaping more.
Natural farming is founded on the laws of nature. It assumes that all that is needed to successfully produce crops can be found in the natural environment. Engaging in natural farming, therefore, is a desirable venture.
Higa, T. and J. F. Parr, 1994. Retrieved on April 18, 2010 at https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://emproducts.co.uk/downloads/EM.pdf.