The organic agriculture is a system of agricultural production which is regulated by the Reg CE 834/07 concerning the organic production and labelling of organic products which abrogates the regulation CEE n. 2092/91. This regulation is applicable since January 1st 2009. This kind of agriculture mostly approaches the old agricultural system, antecedent to the Second World War.
Straight after the second world war in fact, there has been a huge development of “chemical agriculture”, which still today is mainly used.
At that time in fact, all chemical industries that had previously produced weapons, had to convert their production and thus started developing chemical fertilizers to a large extent.
Furthermore, always at that time, the research about plant protection products and pesticides started growing.
The use of these chemicals allowed the farmers to have more plentiful harvests and to protect their own harvests from harmful bugs and from typical plant diseases.
With the passage of time, however, we began to see a gradual and substantial impoverishment of the land caused by the loss of natural balances (minerals and micro-fauna) which determine the success of harvest.
Moreover, the excessive use of nitrate-based manures and the use of pesticides determine the pollution of waters.
The organic farming believes that the guarantee of a land which must remain rich, fertile and productive along the years must go through the elimination of all the harming chemicals.
The chemicals in fact, pollute the earth, the air and the water and consequently harm the local fauna. Furthermore, they are harmful for both the health of whom eats the products and the health of the producers as well.
he organic farming uses natural ways both for fertilizing the land the land and organic fertilizing and for protecting the plants protection of plants and the productions against the diseases and harmful bugs organic defence from diseases and harmful insects, but also for eliminating the weeds.
These natural systems – which we will better explain later – give less guarantees to the producers compared to conventional farming but they do not harm the environment nor the human health in any way and they grant an absolute environmental and social sustainability in the years to come.
Moreover, compared to the old pre-war farming, the organic farming has largely improved and has developed defence and fertilizing systems for the organic productions which are absolutely efficient.
Therefore, the medium productivity of organic farms has risen, and this allows us to state that organic farming is a possible and valid alternative to chemical and conventional farming, and most importantly it is absolutely a change which is desirable in the years to come.
The land and organic fertilizing
The fundamental rule for organic farming, is to make sure that the plants’ roots grow strong and healthy. They must always be able to breathe and feed on properly. It is thus compulsory to work on the land itself.
The land must be clean from foreign bodies and from the excess of pebbles and stones and also needs to be properly compact.
It must not be too “heavy” as we say in the slang (too full of clay), but it must not be either too “light” (too sandy). Furthermore, the land must certainly be full of nutrients.
For this reason, one of the most important organic farming techniques is the “green manure”, which is the seeding of cereals and legumes which are not harvested but instead they are let grown and once ripe, they are cut and remixed with the earth.
This way, they release organic nutrients and fibres in the earth which let the land acquire more structure.
Moreover, it is fundamental to enrich the land with more nutrients even before rooting the plant inside the earth.
In organic farming the most utilized technique is to add farmyard manure and dehydrated poultry manure.
The manure and dehydrated poultry manure must be appropriately ripe and need to be well “matured” manures with a very low humidity point.
Once the plants are seeded and while their growing, other organic certified fertilizers are used.
Organic defence from diseases and harmful insects
The defence from diseases obviously starts from the well-being of the plants. As we said before, a plant that has healthy and strong roots, also hardly gets sick.
We also need to work on prevention, by keeping away for example the causes of contagion.
Some insects are carriers of diseases and therefore must be kept far from plants and fruit also in a mechanic way; for example, by creating barriers against them.
Other natural nutrients are present such as propolis, copper sulphate, sulphur which can efficiently oppose some of the main diseases.
The fight against harmful insects happens not only through physical barriers, but also through the sexual confusion caused by hormonal calls.
These hormonal calls make sure that insects do not reproduce themselves through the introduction of antagonist insects; Useful insects are thus liberated upon the land so that they can eat harmful bugs, preventing their development and diffusion.
It is clear, that these organic farming defence techniques if compared to conventional chemical defence techniques, they can be considered as anachronistic.
The weeds compete against each other and “steal” nutrients from crops, they represent an excellent habitat for harmful bugs and they can be carriers of diseases.
The defence against the weeds can happen in different ways:
Obviously, there is a physical technique of extirpation. It can be made manually or mechanically where it is possible.
Moreover, treatment techniques of the land are present in advance
The pyro herbicide uses the fire to burn the seeds and the roots of harmful plants and at the same time sterilizes the land itself.
The solarization consists in spreading black plastic sheets upon the land in warmer periods to let the heat be absorbed by the humidity of the land. The heat remains “imprisoned” under the black sheets and therefore inside the “crop land”. This way, the land is thermally sterilized, overcoming the 60 degrees of temperature in depth in the land.
The false sowing consists in watering an unsown land in order to let the weeds grow. Immediately after the birth of these weeds, they get mechanically extirpated. Straight after this stage, we proceed with the true sowing.
All organic farming techniques we have illustrated, need to work synergistically and need to be repeated in the years.
This way in the land, without using the chemicals, we recreate a balanced world of useful insects, fertile and hospital land for crops which grant also the good health of the crops themselves.
The law provides that a fruit can be called organic only after 3 years the tree crops have been sown and after two years the arable crops have been sown. At last, if a fruit is organic, it can be certified as stated, by the method enclosed in the regulation CE 834/07.
Three years are enough to start a process of sanitation and fortification of a microcosm which has to proceed for years and years without the use of chemicals. The more time passes by, the more the organic land stays strong and useful to generate tasty and healthy organic fruit.