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Organic vs. Chemical Farming: An Overview of Pros and Cons

by Raja Varun |

With the rise of the food industry and the growing demand for food, the methods used for producing food have become a topic of interest for many. One of the most significant debates in this field is the comparison between organic and chemical farming.

Organic farming refers to the practice of growing crops without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified seeds.

Chemical farming, on the other hand, refers to the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, GMOs to produce crops. Both methods have their own pros and cons, and this blog aims to provide an overview of these to help you understand the issue better.

1) Nutrition per acre:

The first area of comparison between organic and chemical farming is the nutritional value of the food produced.

When it comes to food, quantity should not be the sole focus. The quality of food we consume plays a crucial role in maintaining our health and well-being. Food produced through organic farming methods is not only nutritionally superior but also offers a better taste experience.

The nutritional value of crops grown in organic farming can be higher, as they are grown in soil with a healthy balance of nutrients and a diverse array of microorganisms. The use of natural fertilizers in organic farming can also result in crops that are richer in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants compared to chemically farmed crops. These are essential for maintaining good health. 

On the other hand, the overuse of chemicals in chemical farming can result in soil degradation and the accumulation of toxins in crops, reducing their nutritional value.

When we choose to consume organic food, we are not only nourishing our bodies but also supporting a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of farming. So, it's essential that we give more importance to the quality of food we consume than the quantity. After all, our health is one of our most valuable assets, and what we eat plays a significant role in determining our overall well-being.

Think of it this way, when you choose organic, you're not just filling your belly, you're filling it with nutritious and delicious food which eventually helps to keep the doctor away. 

Your taste buds and your body will thank you.

2) Yield per acre

The second area of comparison is the yield per acre.

Chemical farming often relies heavily on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to boost yields and control pests, which can have negative impacts on the environment and human health. However, chemical farming results in higher yields in the short-term.

In organic farming, the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is restricted, and farmers rely on natural inputs like compost, cover crops, and natural predators to maintain soil fertility and control pests. This can result in healthier soils and a more diverse range of crops and wildlife, but it also means that organic farmers may face greater challenges in managing pests and disease and achieving consistent yields. Some studies have shown that over a long period of time, organic farming can produce comparable yields to chemical farming.

3) Cost of health care and side effects:

The third area of comparison is the cost of health care and the side effects of chemical farming.

This metric has not been properly measured, but the impact is undeniable. The residual content of chemicals on produce can have significant health effects on those consuming it.

The use of chemicals in farming also takes a toll on the farmers who use them. In regions like Punjab, the overuse of chemicals such as Roundup has led to a rise in cancer cases among farmers. This has resulted in a significant financial burden for families, as well as a loss of physical health and ability to work.

The cost of health care, treatment, and loss of income must be considered in the long-term when evaluating the impact of chemical farming. The stress and mental health issues that arise from financial burden and loss of physical health should also be considered.

Organic farming, on the other hand, not only results in healthier produce but also provides a safer working environment for farmers. By eliminating the use of harmful chemicals, organic farming protects the health of both farmers and consumers.

It's essential to take into account the cost of health care, side effects, and the long-term impact on farmers and consumers when evaluating the benefits of organic and chemical farming. A holistic approach is needed to ensure that we are producing safe, nutritious, and sustainable food while also considering the well-being of those involved in the production process.

4) Loss of fertility per acre: 

The loss of fertility in soil is often irreversible, which makes it an even more critical issue to consider when evaluating farming methods. Once soil fertility is lost, it can take hundreds of years to restore, if it can be restored at all. This is why it's so important to adopt sustainable farming practices that maintain and enhance soil fertility, such as organic and natural farming.

Organic and natural farming methods, such as using compost, crop rotation, and cover crops, Permaculture, aim to maintain and improve soil health and fertility. This helps to prevent soil degradation and ensures that the soil remains fertile and productive for future generations.

In contrast, chemical farming can have disastrous effects on soil fertility. The overuse of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers can lead to soil degradation and loss of fertility, making it difficult or even impossible to grow crops in the future.

The loss of fertility in soil is an issue that should not be taken lightly. It's essential to consider the long-term impact of farming methods on soil fertility and to adopt sustainable farming practices that maintain and enhance soil health, such as organic and natural farming.

5) Loss of biodiversity

The loss of biodiversity is another significant impact of chemical farming methods. Chemical farming practices often rely on monoculture crops and heavy use of pesticides and herbicides, which can have devastating effects on the natural ecosystem and the biodiversity of plants and animals in the area.

Pesticides and herbicides can harm or kill beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife, reducing the diversity of species in the ecosystem. Monoculture crops, where the same crop is grown repeatedly in the same area, can also lead to a loss of biodiversity by reducing the variety of plant species in the area.

In the past 100 years we have lost touch with many plant species which were previously a part of our diet. Our effort is to revive these FORGOTTEN FOODS and bring them back to our diets. For example, millets were widely grown before the Green Revolution. These include Foxtail millet, Kodo millet, Little millet, Barnyard millet, etc. 

On the other hand, natural and organic farming practices aim to enhance biodiversity by promoting a diverse range of crops and using natural methods to control pests and weeds. By using sustainable practices, organic farmers can help maintain a healthy and diverse ecosystem, which is essential for a sustainable food system. Millets started gaining traction very recently and they can be grown in a complete organic way since they are pest and drought resistant plants.

6) Cost of food produce

It is true that chemically produced food tends to be cheaper than organic food in the market, but it's important to consider the full picture and the long-term effects. The government subsidies and loan waiving that support chemical farming lead to lower prices in the short term, but they don't account for the environmental and health impacts of using synthetic chemicals. Organic farming, on the other hand, may be more expensive in the short term since they don't get fertilizer subsidies, but it promotes a healthier and more sustainable food system. In reality the input cost of chemical farming is much higher than of organic farming.

The subsidies for the year 2017-18 from the Central Government of India are Rs. 70,000 crores towards fertilizers, Rs. 20,000 crores towards farm credit, Rs. 6500 crores towards crop insurance, Rs. 24,000 crores towards MSP totalling Rs. 120,500 crores.

And a similar support from State Governments of Rs. 90,000 crores towards electricity power subsidies, Rs.17,500 crores towards irrigation subsidies, Rs, 6500 crores towards crop insurance subsidies totalling Rs. 1,14,000 crores.

In addition the State Governments also waived bad farm loans of Rs. 1,22,000 crores in 2017-18.

Hence the cost of chemically produced food might not actually be lower when compared to organic food but it is priced lower in the market due to the heavy subsidies.


In conclusion, it is imperative to carefully weigh the pros and cons of both organic and chemical farming methods before making a decision on which one to adopt. While yield is an important factor to consider, it is not the only metric that should be taken into account. Environmental sustainability, impact on human health, preservation of biodiversity and the long-term health of the planet must also be considered. Ultimately, the right farming method will be one that strikes a balance between maximizing yield and protecting our resources for future generations. It is crucial that we make informed choices based on a comprehensive understanding of the implications of each farming method, both in the short and long term.


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