Organic agriculture is on the move. In Asian as well as western countries, the Governments and non-governmental organizations are emphasizing research, promoting studies as well as encouraging farmers to practice organic farming. Environmental awareness coupled with social health making people more concerned about sustainable agriculture
WHAT is Organic Farming?
Bio-Fertilizers are nutrient supplements to the plants that are based on natural organic matter containing microbial inoculants of bacteria, algae or fungi and /or their combination. In sustainable agriculture, the use of bio-fertilizers, in preference to chemical fertilizers, offers economic and ecological benefits to the crop producers.
ORGANIC fertilizers are encouraged to be applied to field solely or in combination with inorganic or chemical fertilisers to help prevent soil degradation. Soil organic matter needs to be retained or improved without destroying soil structure for attaining sustainability in agricultural production.
The general perception of increasing crop yields is the use of chemical fertilizers in intensive agriculture. This is expensive and the consequence has been the disturbance of the equilibrium of agro-ecosystems by polluting the environment. Biofertilizer and its application, in comparison are inexpensive as it makes use of freely available natural resources. Biofertilisers may be microbial inoculants or microbially-converted organic materials which are used to supply nutrients to plants. It is well known that nutrient availability in soil contributes to plant fitness in terms of shoot and root productivity. Concern for the protection of our environment has led to increasing interest in the use of biofertilisers.
N, P, and K increases shoot and root development and uptake of other nutrients. Biofertilizers supply micronutrients such as Zn to plants if used as a slow release organic fertilizer. Several experiments across the world showed that the rice yield and agronomic efficiency was greater when inorganic fertilizer and green manure Azolla were combined than for inorganic fertiliser alone.
Soil degradation is a worldwide problem of considerable importance. A recent report from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) stated that 40% of the world's farmland is seriously degraded. Thus, soil management is becoming the top priority in sustainable agriculture. Utilisation of animal manure as biofertilizer necessitates proper manure management comprising of manure collection, storage and application.