Thoughts on economics and liberty

Organic farming: a rip-off

Vijay Mohan has been debating organic farming vigorously with me and has sent me a document by NABARD which just confirms my dim views about this fad:

a) Organic farming is clearly a new-found Western fashion for those who have nothing better do to in life. To supply to the small number of faddists in the West who demand organic food, a small area ranging from 2-4% approximately of the Western agricultural land is now under organic farming, with a share of production lower than that.

b) It is true that under certain test conditions, some crops may yield equivalent quantities through organic farming. Of course this will be true. Not all crops require the same intensity of chemicals, not all areas suffer from the same pest infestations. And so, not all non-organic food is loaded to the brim with chemicals. Farmers use as little as they can. After all, chemicals costs money.

The paper cites one study in this regard: “As a result of the low yields during the conversion period, the net income from the organic farm was lesser than the conventional farm. But the yield under organic method increased progressively equalling it to that of the conventional system by the sixth year.”

c) The paper admits that most farmers in India won’t be able to switch due to loss of income in the initial years (assuming the study in (b) is replicable which I seriously doubt). The paper notes “In many cases the farmers experience some loss in yields on discarding synthetic inputs on conversion of their farming method from conventional to organic. Restoration of full biological activity in terms of growth of beneficial insect populations, nitrogen fixation from legumes, pest suppression and fertility problems will take some time and the reduction in the yield rates is the result in the interregnum. It may also be possible that it will take years to make organic production possible on the farm. Small and marginal farmers cannot take the risk of low yields for the initial 2-3 years on the conversion to organic farming. There are no schemes to compensate them during the gestation period. [Hint, Hint! Government, please pay these farmers subsides.] The price premiums on the organic products will not be much of help, as they will disappear once significant quantities of organic farm products are made available.”

d) The paper make false assumptions about Western consumers, stating that “ The demand for organic products is high in the advanced countries of the west like USA, European Union and Japan. It is reported that the US consumers are ready to pay a premium price of 60 to 100 per cent for the organic products. The upper classes in India are also following this trend as elsewhere.”

Let this be clear: Only a very tiny proportion of Westerners (generally the rich but scientifically ignorant faddists – of whom there a growing number as the study of science is falling rapidly in the West) in the West will pay a premium. They actually pay up to 300 per cent more! It is not true to say, though that ALL consumers in the West "are ready to pay a premium price of 60 to 100 per cent for the organic products", which is what the paper seems to imply. To base a business case on such a tiny market for organic foods is good for niche-market farmers, but not for everyone.

Concerns with fraud in organic farming

A number of articles in the Australian press have demonstrated that a significant amount of fraud exists in the organic farming business (yields drop so much that farmers resort to cheating).

Scientifically there is no difference in quality

Further, consumer associations have scientifically investigated and found NO DIFFERENCE in nutritional content between genuinely organic and non-organic food. Hence any sensible consumer in the West will avoid organic food for he will be paying up to three times more for something that might not even be organically grown!

Organic farming is a dead end, even a rip-off

The case is now closed. Organic farming is a fad for a few ill-informed people in the West and in India. It will remain a luxury market (just as people pay 20 times more for luxury pens or watches) and some of its practices will ultimately become mainstream, which is good. I have no objection to luxury markets so long as governments don't subsidise them.

But the hype about the damage caused by so-called non-organic farming is grossly overstated (this is my view, not in the paper). The damage can be easily remedied with good governance (again, my view, since the paper writer has not looked at regulatory and governance solutions).

I vote for CHEAPER food for everyone in the world, till the population declines and people have spare time on their hands to grow organic foods.

Regardless of the merits or lack thereof, of organic farming, one thing is clear: the government has no business in this space.

Let farmers choose whatever they wish to produce. My concern is that people like Vandana Shiva will force governments to subsidise organic farmers. Beware such crazy fanatics who don’t understand science, economics, or governance, but keep insisting that their views be imposed on the world AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE. Whatever you do, Vijay, please don't ever ask for government subsidies! 


Organic products still account for only about 1 per cent of total grocery sales (in Australia).

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35 thoughts on “Organic farming: a rip-off
  1. Sachin

    If the use of chemicals for extra production leads to water pollution, then thats something where the government needs to step in. I am not exactly certain if that' s true but if it is then organic farming should be explored.

  2. DR Manik Hiranandani

    Sanjeev. I treat a lot of problems caused by pesticides in food , day in and day out. The huge increase in food allergies & of cancer has a lot to do with pesticides.
    Pesticides are poisons which poison your body.
    I don't regard Vandana Shiva as a Fanatic, She has done a lot of good work.
    Who subsidizes the Consumer organizations you mention ? do investigate
    A true liberal gives space to everyone to express their opinions without calling them names.
    put the facts before people and let them make their choices.

  3. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sachin

    Please note I’ve said repeatedly that problems related to pollution (if any) can be easily resolved through good governance (which means good regulation and enforcement). For instance, pesticide use can be regulated to ensure that no excess residue remains.

    Let’s be clear that imposing organic farming will kill hundreds of millions of people (a) by increasing subsidies and diverting resources, (b) reducing yields, and (c) raising food prices. Food supplies will shrink dramatically.

    By good regulation you get (a) NO subsidies, (b) high yields (c) low food prices AND no health or environmental harm.


  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Dr. Hiranandani

    I agree. Excess pesticide use, and not washing the vegetables properly is definitely a problem.

    But India’s problems with excess pesticide use won’t go away without a liberal government that knows how to govern. ALL current political parties are complicit in the crime of excess pesticide use in India (there is virtually no excess pesticide use in the West since pesticide use is stringently regulated). They simply don’t know how to govern! Nothing works. Why will pesticide regulation work?

    I’ll leave your other comment untouched since I didn’t say that the Government subsidises Vandana Shiva but that should this cult of organic farming catch on, governments will come under pressure to subsidise it. I’m asking people to beware of any demand for subsidies, not saying it is happening at the moment.


  5. Vijay Mohan

    Dear Sanjeev,
    Please remove above two posts of mine , lots of mistakes ..correcting here..

    Thanks for goi
    ng through the report and extracting some of problems faced by organic farming. Infact the title of the report is "ORGANIC FARMING IN INDIA RELEVANCE, PROBLEMS AND CONSTRAINTS" 
    The report is positive about Organic Farming results , But you could easily prove your point.


    1) In most of the cases the production is almost the same or more within 3 years of period. Dont forget farmers is saving cost of chemical fertilizer , pesticides and Seeds" which the farmer purchases for NON-Organic Farming
    2) Every Year the cost of fertilizers , Pesticides and seeds is increasing but the production ISNT.
    3) Every Year farmers have to use more quantity of these chemicals , because the Weeds or the pests get adjusted to it . So if every year farmers are putting more and more pesticides , How can you be sure that mere washing is enough.
    4) these chemicals kills micro organism responsible for soil fertility . Earth Worm though not a micro organism is no more seen in farms where chemicals are used.
    5)In Organic farming Diversity is used where mixed or a devised combination of crops are used .It helps soil and  insects on one crop help eating  pests on other crops and vice versa.
    6) So we need to take the total production into account for comparison .

    7) Seeds used for In organic farming comes with huge royalty  and some are sterile and in some time all seeds will be sterile. So that every year farmer has to buy even expensive seeds .

    8) the Sale price of production is decided by the Subsidized US and Europe Market with WTO. 

    9) NON-organic farming is based on Monocrops which is making extinct various types of varities.

    10) Even if Vandana Shiva and other Organic supporters demand subsidies , still Govt cant give , If you know this is one of the conditions in WTO that Govt CANT give subsidies though USA and Europe can give subsidy and decide the market rate.

    11)Because of MonoCrops only the figures were used to prove that organic revolution increase the production. Monocrops have made 13 fold increase in types and numbers of pests.

    12)Monsento has challenged or sued Indian Govt on Indian GOvt Opposition to increase in cost of BT Cotton seeds . Normal seeds are out of market now in delibrate manner. Where should the farmers Go ?? to Suicide yes they are chossing the that path.

    13) You dont even know What Vandana is fighting for and what she is doing because you dont listen to her or follow her coz she does not understand economics. And shes is called before finalizing WTO agreement not YOU!

    14) The amount of pollution (Genetic Pollution , Water Pollution , Air pollution ) Inorganic farming is causing can not be estimated.

    15) TO me capitalism in Food and Water industry is causing disaster and havoc. We want this to be a local economy rather than a game of monopoly.

    There are enormous points should be known before concluding anything , and you should be responsible enough to know and collect the information before making any decision based on your personal opinion.

    I am not going to put any more points as you already have taken your decision.

    The only agreement which I have with you from day one is , Let farmer decide .. Organic is giving farmer an option to get out of the vicious circle. 


  6. Harsh Vora

    Hi Sanjeev — Just so I can follow this subject (without a bias), can you cite sources for the following statements you made:
    1) Only a very tiny proportion of Westerners (generally the rich but scientifically ignorant faddists – of whom there a growing number as the study of science is falling rapidly in the West) in the West will pay a premium.
    2) Further, consumer associations have scientifically investigated and found NO DIFFERENCE in nutritional content between genuinely organic and non-organic food.
    Any detailed analysis/articles?

  7. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Harsh

    1) A casual browse through supermarkets, speciality markets, and farmers markets (where 90% of the raw food is sold) in the West will demonstrate this point. Organic food section is 5% of the size of the normal foods section.

    If there was greater demand the farmer in the West would have switched long ago. There are a few tiny supermarkets that have larger share of organic food. Supply meets demand. The supply figures are around 3% of world production (from the NABARD report). That is also the demand.

    Yes, this demand has been growing. But that is because demand for luxury goods increases with income (plus declining knowledge of science in the West).

    2) Amway and a few other companies have spread the message that ‘normal’ food has problems. However, there are many scientific studies periodically reported in the newspapers that clarify that there is no difference in nutritional content. To anyone with the BASIC knowledge of biology and biochemistry, that must necessarily be the case. A fertiliser merely adds the main plant nutrients to the soil. It is PLANT FOOD. I don’t retain these studies since I KNOW this fact without such studies. But if you wish you can get such results off the internet.

    Re: pesticides, of course these are harmful (else they wouldn’t kill insects), but when used in minor quantities (as they are) and vegies are washed before cooking, there is no proven link between them and cancer. That, too, has come through in numerous reported studies. You may wish to research this.


  8. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    Let me add: in many cases inorganic food (shortcut for food grown with inorganic chemical fertilisers) is HEALTHIER than organic food because it contains necessary micro-nutrients that are missing in some soils. Organic food is often STARVED FOOD – deficient in many ways and not fit to eat – like eating a starving animal and expecting the same nutrition from it as from a healthy one.


  9. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Vijay

    It is not true that production is declining, else India would be starving. (Re: “Every Year the cost of fertilizers , Pesticides and seeds is increasing but the production ISNT.”)

    You essentially have a choice here, Vijay.

    Either you kill off at least 2000 lakh poor Indians by growing organic or have 1 lakh Indians with cancer (assuming heavy pesticide use). You tell me what you want.

    And re: GM issues – they are a totally different matter (seed that has to be bought every year). 98% of the stuff grown is not GM.

    Third, pollution is controlled through good regulation, which NO POLITICAL PARTY in India is capable of providing.

    Fourth, I couldn’t care a fig for WTO or whoever they invite (e.g. Vandana Shiva). A lot of stupid people manage many international organisations and run governments in the West. I don’t join gangs of stupid people just because call themselves WTO or US government. I actually don’t care if others subsidise their farmers. I’m quite happy to soak up their subsidies by buying cheaper food. Let’s not become mercantalists like Vandana Shiva but free marketeers and EXPLOIT THE STUPID who don’t understand basic economics. Let’s soak up the Western subsidies.

    Before further discussion just tell me this: Either you kill off at least 2000 lakh poor Indians by growing organic or have 1 lakh Indians with cancer (assuming heavy pesticide use). You tell me what you want. That will show me your moral sense and sense of responsibility towards the poor of India.

    I’d rather feed ALL Indians and let a few die of cancer (if that can’t be avoided at all) than have mass famines in India.


  10. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Harsh

    Re: the market, let me add that in addition to being starved and deficient in micro-nutrients, organic food often looks unhealthy – mottled, pockmarked, unshapely. Organic tomatoes are a good example. As a result most buyers who use these characteristics to buy food, reject organically grown food. 

    Note I'm not saying that people shouldn't eat organic food if they wish to, or that farmers should not grow it. It obviously has benefits for the environment. Many good practices from organic farming are already becoming mainstream. Indeed, these ideas were there ages ago in the literature. But there are tradeoffs in life. Currently our first goal is to feed the world. 



  11. Vijay Mohan

    Dear Sanjeev,
    I also want to feed hunger people …I dont want to see anybody in hunger..
    In Any case I TOTALLY agree , this is not the Govt duty to decide Agri business.. Let the farmers decide what suits them , what is more prosperous to them.
    But there isnt any harm in showing them the other option… "Monopoly is bad for business"
    I support organic Because i fell its better option..based upon my discussion with farmers..
    Organic is also scientific its just not mixing Cow Gober and Cow urine , THere is a process one has to follow .. All problems of Soil infertility and nutrient deficiency can be solved with organic methods
    All of your concerns has solution in organic Way of farming … It just need to be explored.

  12. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Vijay

    I look forward to the day when organic methods will result in: (a) high yield and efficiency (quick production) (b) high nutritional value (c) low cost (d) inviting appearance. By the time all that happens our debate would have become academic, since the world would have shifted to organic.

    As things stand, none of these criteria are met, so it remains a fad. I’m not against fads. Just that I like to recognise a fad as a fad: a temporary fashion or a luxury good of no consequence to vast majority of the people of the world.

    I trust we can close this discussion now.


  13. Vijay Mohan

    Dear Sanjeev,
    Next time you come to India , I will take you to visit the grounds Where you will see the solutions to all of your concerns.
    Shifting the World is more of a "MARKETING STUNT"  But I accept the challenge .
    It NOT a fad , Its  still UNEXPLORED.
    I assure you , the day I see that there is a huge tradeoff .. I will stop promoting organic.
    Well I am looking for a latest report by UN a part of which i sent you in Youtube clip, which proves some real good points.  I will forward you when I get . We can explore further 

  14. Bill Hothi

    Dear Sanjiv,
    It was all organic farming 50 or so years back. I have seen the full brunt of inorganic farming. Yes! the new fertilizers gave phenominal production and farmers became rich overnight. If I look from farmers side, the reduction in the overall yeild will hardly effect them as the fertilizers are very costly today and is the main drain of the farmer. He is in catch 22 as he fears the reduction may put him out of business hence he is continueing to use them.
    The reduction of over yield will effect the FCI who will have to get food grains from else where.
    Let me tell you what the chemicals have done,
    a Water in agriculture state of Punjab in many districts is undrinkable and subsoil water can hardly be cleaned economically. The same is the case in US in california where sub soil water is really bad. How I know this; we have undrinkable water in our temple and anywhere we have visited in CA and between all my relatives, they have about ten thousand acres of fruit gardens.
    b West Punjab in Sangroor area, the cancer is in every house because they were too busy producing food grains with fertilizers. Now they are paying the price. The passenger tarin there is called cancer express.
    c  The land in some part of Punjab is declared cancerous due to excessive use of pesticides, fertilizers etc and the produce is unfit for consuption.
    Yes! the organic farming hawks are blowing their trumpets but an old farmer knows what it was and how to go organic. Only thing is we have too many damn people and the way we are multiplying is not even funny. Does that mean that we should produce food any way we want to feed them. The soil capacity needs to be revitalized to sustain reasonable production otherwise we will land up with a big Sahara very soon. Punjab surely will run out of water and soil fertility to look like desert.
    We do need organic but we can go slowly and change over. Change over is inescapable and we cannot run away.
    Bill Hothi

  15. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Bill

    Let’s be clear: fertislisers can’t cause cancer. Only pesticides can. But fertilisers can harm the environment and create acidic soils.

    Both these need to be regulated, which requires a level of governance quality that is not found in India. There is virtually no damage caused to the environment in the West wherever good regulation is in place. I’ve discussed some solutions to environmental concerns at

    Re: excess withdrawal of water from the soil, that has happened in India largely because of free electricity which is the worst policy one can imagine. That policy has to go.

    Cancer is a common fate of humans who live long, i.e., those who have not starved. In Sangroor, I’m sure it is largely the elderly who have cancer (unless there are local causes). One third of us will get cancer in our lives – mostly if we live beyond 60.

    Longevity is increasing continuously all over the world. So cancers will also increase. Cancer is in that sense a good thing. It indicates that people haven’t starved and died before 60.

    As soon as farm subsidies are switched off, organic practices will automatically become more viable – but food production may fall unless we have completely freed up the economy to use the latest technology.


  16. Nitin Gulhane

    Pesticides are used because pests exist. How can organic farming eradicate pests? You cannot wish them away.
    Famines and death due to hunger has reduced dramatically since green revolution.
    Organic farming is great. However, It will work if we grow humans organically. No pesticides for crops no Polio vaccination for kids. No chemical fertilizers for crops and no antibiotics for people. Do we really want to live in that world?
    I don't.
    Success of pesticide free farming will depend upon how fast we can eradicate the pests. Beleive it or not, none of the farmer wants to use pesticides…they are super expensive and smells awful and its a huge headache. Absolutely everybody is against using them. However, how much choice farmers have?
    And no, don't assume that the pests are something new and product of green revolution. Pests on crops is as old as TB bacteria.

  17. Nitin Gulhane

    Sanjeev says: One third of us will get cancer in our lives – mostly if we live beyond 60.
    hmmm. That was interesting. I agree. Many of our diseases exist because we are living longer and being kept alive with chemicals. Half of us would have died by Typhoid and TB and Pneumonia and Tetanus. As we don't by these diseases anymore, we have to die with Heart Attacks and cancers. Good enough reason to celebrate???
    Seriously, when I consider the longevity that has been bestowed upon us (by increasingly new checmicals), we should be working out in the gym and taking care of our bodies to see us thru our long lives…instead of working in the offices. yikes…just normal thoughts for Monday morning. Cheers.

  18. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Nitin

    It does take a little bit of knowledge to realise that longevity has increased from around 30 years at the time of independence (with just 300 million people) in India to around 60 years today (with 1100 million roughly). More than 3 times the people, living twice as long!

    If at all anything should be worshipped, it is science and scientific knowledge. The closest many Hindus do that is at Bishwakarma puja, but that worships the products of science, not science itself.

    Plants pests (weeds) can be physically removed by hand. That’s what organic farmers do. They have NO CURE for insect, bacterial and viral pests. Hence overall their crops succeed ONLY in those areas where natural enemies of the crops are relatively few (e.g. rice that is acclimatised to certain parts of India’s environment).

    Except for Haryana Panjab and Western UP, most agriculture in India is still very low intensity, meaning semi-organic. Hence there is significant scope to increase production in India by increasing fertiliser use and switching to high yielding crops. China’s rice yields, for instance, are more than double India’s rice yields. The point is that about half of India’s farming can be classified as organic (semi-organic) hence low productivity.

    Shifting to greater chemical use – with appropriate regulatory controls (this is important) – will easily double India’s crop production in the next 50 years (even as its population starts slowing down, therefore leading to surpluses that can be exported – if needed). Organic farming has NO CHANCE of even replicating current yields, leave alone doubling them.


  19. Harsh Vora

    Thanks so much for the explanation Sanjeev. That explains.
    Re: "However, there are many scientific studies periodically reported in the newspapers that clarify that there is no difference in nutritional content. To anyone with the BASIC knowledge of biology and biochemistry, that must necessarily be the case."
    If this is the case, then why do so many educated, qualified people oppose GM foods like, for example, Bt Brinjal? I have not studied about the reasons in detail. But it is surprising to learn that people like Dr. PM Bhargava, a nationally recognized scientist; Dr. UR Anantha Murthy, a controversial litterateur; and Prof. GK Veeresh, a former Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor — all of them are opposed to GM foods. Do you have any idea/thoughts on this?
    You can answer only if you happen to have time. Else, it's fine. Not that important!

  20. Vijay Mohan

    Dear Sanjeev / Nitin
    I dont pay any heed to your cancer and age logic … 
    There are natural pesticides .. Its made my mixing Neem leaves and Cow Urine as few of the ingredients .. Its very effective .. .. 
    Other way to check pesticides is growing Mixed crops .. which is generaly the case with organic farming ..
    there is very popular saying in organic farmers 
    "Mitra keet shatru keet par sada vijay hai paate , rehte unke ande illon par or unhe hai khaate"
    You just need to wait for few years .
    The irony I am facing here is whatever i am sure is Organic farming very advantageous .. You dont rely upon … 
    How can I be sure the methods which you are telling through FTI .. which I dont know about ..Can be relied upon ??
    You need to EXPLORE Organic farming. Ok I am posting a way to make Organic Manure and pesticide.. Its a product of more than 1000 years of worl and reserach and its very effective .. its absoloutely free as well So even if it takes 3 years to get to the initial production .. saving on Chemical Fertilizers and pesticides is very much worth
    Also if you grow mixed crops then from the first year you can get a similar production..

  21. Vijay Mohan

    Dear Sanjeev / Nitin
    Please go through the process for making natural fertilizer and pesticide.
    THis should be surprising to you.. this is evolved from 1000 of years and even more research is going on 
    Organic/Natural Fertilizer

    Method of composing organic fertilizer (for 1 acre of land)

    Ingredients :
    – 15 Kilo Dung of Desi Cow/ Bull/ Buffallo/ Jersey Cow.
    – 15 Litre of Urine of any of the above listed cattles (animals).
    – 1 Kilo Jaggery Third type (First type is the one consumed by humans, second type is the one consumed by cattles and this third type is the throw away category and this one is great natural manure)
    – 1 Kilo Dal Flour (Lentils) (any one of the Chana, Masoor, Urad, Tur, Moong, Soyabean Dals). Refer link for english names.
    – 1 Kilo Soil (The soil should be fetched from near any of the following trees : Banyan Peepal, Mango. The soil near these trees contain higher oxygen content breeding essential bacterias for the fertilizer).

    Process :
    – Take a large plastic container and create a mixture of above listed ingredients.
    – Add more cow urine or water if required.
    – Cover the container with a cloth and keep the mixture in shadow for 15 to 20 days. During this period the bacterias multiply and thats what makes a excellent fertilizer.
    – Stir the mixture every evening and morning.
    – After 15/20 days when the mixture is ready, add around 200 litres of water and stir. The liquid organic fertilizer for 1 acre of land is ready.

    Usage :
    – Sprinkle the fertilizer on freshly ploughed empty land OR Spray the same using Spray pump by removing the nozzle.
    – After 2 days from the day of sprinkle / spray, do the seeding.
    – Compose the fertilizer using the above listed procedure and add it to the fields every 21 days until the crop is harvested.
    – One important point to follow : Once the crop grows do not sprinkle it on the crop. Rather make sure it is only added to the soil. To do so apply method 4 only. Also note that method 4 is known to be the most productive method to add this fertilizer.

    Different methods of applying fertilizers to the soil :
    Method 1 : Dry the cow dung, mix it with the fertilizer and make small balls and spread these balls across the field.
    Method 2: If you use fireplace for cooking food, then use the ashes to mix it with the fertilizer, make small balls and spread these balls across the field.
    Method 3: Mix the soil from the field with fertilizer , make small balls and spread it across the field.
    Method 4: During watering, pour the fertilizer in the streamlet (small narrow stream) through which the water flows into the field.

    Method of adding the organic fertilizer to (fruit) trees in farms.
    At 12 noon, create a circular mark around the tree. This mark should be border of the shadow of the same tree. The roots of a tree are known to spread approximately across till this mark. Now dig a 1 feet wide and 1 feet deep ditch around the tree on this mark. Add the fertilizer in this ditch and fill the ditch with the soil. Apply this method every 21 days. After applying this for 3/4 times, the tree would develop immunity against pests and will remain pest free. Continued application even after the first 3/4 times, the quality (size, weight, taste, colour) of fruits will improve considerably. You may observe doubling of size of fruits in around 1 year.

    Creating seeds for seeding
    – Add 100 grams of Chuna (lime stone) in water and cool it.
    – Add 1 kilo desi cow dung into 1 litre of cow urine and 2/3 litres of water.
    – Mix the composition in point 1 and 2
    – Soak the seeds in this mixture for a night.
    – In the morning, seperate the seeds and dry them under shadow. 
    – After drying, your seeds are ready to sow. The sapling developed from these seeds will be immune to pests.

    Destroying weeds:
    Uproot the weeds and lay them on the field. Spray the organic fertilizer listed above and keep the weed to decompose. This will make sure the weeds are permanentely destroyed.

    Natural/ Organic pesticides: (for 1 acre of land)

    Ingredients :
    – 15 litre of urine of Desi Cow/ Bull/ Buffallo/ Jersey Cow.
    – Paste of leaves of 4/5 types, 2/3 kilo each (Neem, Custard apple leaves, Datura, Besharam leaves and other leaves that cows deny to eat. as a thumb rule, the leaves that cows deny to eat can be used a pesticide).
    – 1/2 Kilo Tobacco leaves. Crush it to make paste.
    – 1/2 Kilo garlic paste.
    – 1/2 Kilo chilly powder.

    Process :
    – Mix the above ingredients in the urine.
    – Boil the mixture until it mixes properly.
    – Cool the mixture and then squeeze the leaves and remove them from the liquid mixture.
    – Sieve the mixture. This remain liquid mixture is your pesticide.

    – Mix this pesticide with 200 litres of water and spray it on your crops/trees.


  22. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Harsh

    Re: the topic of GM. I claim no expertise on this one, just what I’ve read here or there. My view is that at the atomic and molecular level, at which the proteins and sugars live, there can be no difference between GM/non-GM food. If people can eat proteins from 100s of animals and 100s of vegetables and and process them easily, then there is logically no reason why anyone ought to oppose GM food on grounds of nutrition.

    There may well be issues outside of nutritional value that people are concerned about.


  23. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Vijay

    First of all, let’s be 100% clear that I am not FTI. “How can I be sure the methods which you are telling through FTI .. which I dont know about ..Can be relied upon ??”

    FTI has no policy on agriculture – yet.

    Second, can you show me any document that proves that neem (or any other existing plant product) can kill ALL kinds of pests including viruses and bacteria. I would suggest that neem can kill a few pests, but not more than a very few. Else India would have been flooded with food prior to the use of chemical pesticides. Indians used to starve to death. Neem didn’t help. It won’t.

    Third, even if neem and other plants can help, they need to be grown on industrial scale (millions of tonnes). That doesn’t happen and can’t.

    Fourth, mixed cropping is now a standard technique in agriculture. It is not organic. You can have mixed cropping AND chemical use.


  24. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Vijay

    Re: fertiliser, sounds good. However, there is no way this process can provide all necessary micro-nutrients relevant to all soils (fertiliser is soil specific).

    Re: pesticides. I would need authenticated research to prove that (a) this actually works on ALL pests and (b) this can be produced on mass scale.

    What will be needed (assuming this works) is for someone to produce this on industrial scale (hundreds of thousands of tonnes) and sell to farmers all over the world. Don’t expect anyone in the West to adapt this concoction without proof or to make it by hand each time they need it.

    If it works you can make millions of dollars by exporting it to the West. In the West, though, there are expert regulators who assess all pesticides, and this will need to pass their tests.


  25. Vijay Mohan

    Dear Sanjeev.
    This process is already in process and in use at many places , It should not be difficult to produce a proof .. I dont say It kills all Pest ..     It kills some , some are killed by friendly insects and some pest remains ..But even if 90% of the pests are killed without using poison , Its Worth .. Local farmers have developed many ways of tackling Pests …
    I will say and prove that Organic food has more nutrient value than Non Organic One.Its also stated in UN report , I am struggling to get it , Though I find some reproduced version of it , But I dont have original one.
    Also Non Organic farming requires 10 times more water than Organic One
    Non Organic farming is one of the important factor for Global Warming .. This is accepted by most of the scientists.
    I will give proofs of Whatever I say …
    Organic Farming is also A SCIENCE , may be its much more Scientific than NonOrganic .
    We should respect it as a science , I agree there is a need to popularize .. and agree to your methods of popularizing.
    But Mind It , Perception is difficult to change , even with so many proofs .. And you know SWOT analysis ..
    For me Its never too late

  26. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    You may well be right, Vijay. My knowledge of science is perhaps outdated. Let knowledge proceed, and new generations will learn and improve the world.

    However, I am personally very fussy about agreeing to anything. I need to see the proofs myself. I don’t trust in anyone’s assertions. So I suggest that you write up a detailed paper with full references and proofs and I’ll publish on this blog (or you can publish elsewhere). Let us keep an open mind (you too!). That will also prove the case to others. You’ve already written a lot. Just combine into one article, and provide full references.


  27. Vijay Mohan

    Dear Sanjeev / Harsha
    For GMOs  the concerns are
    The tests done on Rats are negative. Scientists all over the world are surprised by the negative results and GMOs flooding in the market. The companies which are putting false claims are same which are selling chemical fertilizer and pesticides.. some people are concluding that Non Organic is to create monopoly in Food sector.
    The temperature required to kill the dangerous protein is sometime around 220 d C  , 
    The pests get accustomed to it and then another modification is required , Now BallWorm is prepared against the BT Cotton so BT Cotton version 2 is released with double the quantity of poison ..  Its Insanity in terms of Einstien's language
    The point used to sell GMO is , its resistant against pests .. Mostly its resistant against one type of pest only , What about other pests , and there has been no decrease rather increase  in use of pesticides with GMO.. So what is the point of putting this thing into market without making is good enough.
    The GMO are said to increase yield because of its pest resistance , with point above it seems to be a false claim
    I am not against technology , But it requires to be Independent research rather than corporate based. and It should not be in the market until its really advantageous.
    BT Brinjal can make our body resistant to antibiotics .. If we start consuming BT brinjal Slowly Antibiotics will not affect to infection..
    We have (28000… to be confirmed ) varieties of Egg plant ..and no shortage 
    GE is good , But do we understand 100% of all types of genes ?? Do we know the effects of modification in long run .. What if it turned out to be Genetic pollution … (Many Scientists are concerned) It will be equivalent to usage of atomic weapons

  28. Kavi

    My biggest reason for support Organic farming is: "We, humans, possessing the most powerful brain among the species cannot exploit and kill all others that come in way of our food and then harp about environmental imbalance and all that stuff. I do not believe that use of fertiliser increases the yield for a simple statement that a POISON to one hydro-carbon based body is poison to all others too. Small beings die due to it. Bigger beings fall sick. Insect's Poison is not human's friend.
    As for Sanjeev, Regulations, Enforcement, Production of Chemicals, its usage, pollution, resulting illnes, premature deaths and everything else in the food-supply-cycle cost money to taxpayers one way or another.
    And how can a LAW written on piece of paper be of any relevance to farmer struggling to make his ends meet?

  29. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Kavi

    Re: ” I do not believe that use of fertiliser increases the yield”.

    Thanks for this information but I suggest we focus on the truth, not on beliefs.

    Please prove your arguments scientifically. I suggest that we use our head. Else what use is having a head – the highest gift that humans have?

    Let’s not accept anything till we have thoroughly investigated and proven the matter.

    Re: laws and their enforcement – the science of governance is fairly well established by now. Please refer to BFN for an outline.


  30. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Vijay

    You are diverting into GM and making some strong claims.

    E.g. “The tests done on Rats are negative. Scientists all over the world are surprised by the negative results and GMOs flooding in the market. “

    I need to see the paper you are referring to. My knowledge of GM is largely incompatible with yours.


  31. Nitin Gulhane

    Natural/ Organic pesticides: (for 1 acre of land)
    Ingredients :
    – 15 litre of urine of Desi Cow/ Bull/ Buffallo/ Jersey Cow.
    – Paste of leaves of 4/5 types, 2/3 kilo each (Neem, Custard apple leaves, Datura, Besharam leaves and other leaves that cows deny to eat. as a thumb rule, the leaves that cows deny to eat can be used a pesticide).
    – 1/2 Kilo Tobacco leaves. Crush it to make paste.
    – 1/2 Kilo garlic paste.
    – 1/2 Kilo chilly powder.

    Process :
    – Mix the above ingredients in the urine.
    – Boil the mixture until it mixes properly.
    – Cool the mixture and then squeeze the leaves and remove them from the liquid mixture.
    – Sieve the mixture. This remain liquid mixture is your pesticide.

    – Mix this pesticide with 200 litres of water and spray it on your crops/trees.

    And since farmers are supermen and have nothing do in life they can easily do it for 10 acres right?
    Most farmers in India will readily take up a job of peon and are forced to do farming due to circumstances. None of the farmer want their kids to do farming. I am yet to see a woman who want to marry a farmer or yet to see a father/brother who want his daughter/sister married to a farmer. When farming is such a cursed occupation that nobody wants for their kids, why would a farmer get into all this trouble unless its very cost effective? Chemical pesticides are premixed…all one need to do is mix them in water and put it in a spraing machine and go after the pests.
    To urban me, even the thought of collecting 150 litre of cow urine is nauseating…forget about climbing a neem tree and getting datura leaves and boiling the mixture and then sieveing it myself.  This is insane.
    I know many farmers who do use cow urine as a pesticide and do get results. I have heard about neem leaves as a natural pesticide but don't know any farmer that actually has used it..because of sheer difficulty in getting the leaves and squeezing them. However, we need to add ease of operation. Somebody will have to do industrial production of these things…but then it won't remain organic, right?
    Anyways, let the farmers decide what they want to do. Theirs is already an awful job…lets not tell them to haul enormous amounts of cow dung and cow urine and rob them of their remaining dignity.

  32. vivek

    Good post and discussion.
    Sanjeev is pointing to the danger of Govt. interference. The problems referred to are largely the result of distortions arising from Govt.s subsidies and credit arrangements.  Let the Organic movement develop by its own resources without Govt. support and it will be saved from becoming just a bureaucratic special-interest group. The problem is a distortion is being caused by a foreign subsidy for Organic and other 'Intermediate Technology' and 'anti0 Consumerism' movements.
    If the money for the representation of an interest group is not being raised by themselves but coming in from outside you are bound to get very foolish and self-defeating agendas.
    In Britain, in the 1980's, Arthur Scargill led a coal miner's strike which was partially financed with Libyan and Soviet money. The result was catastrophic not just for the Miners but organized labor.
    Environmental protection and development of organic farming can certainly emerge by private rather than State action. However, if Indians make the mistake of relying on  foreign money/ publicity machine then their agenda will be hijacked to their lasting harm.

  33. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    @Vijay, I came across someone today who knows something about the organic movement in Australia. They have visited this centre called CERES: If you have time, please go through this. 

    @ Vivek, I agree. I think all of us are vehement agreement that no government subsidies should be deployed towards anything, including farming.    



  34. Vijay Mohan

    Dear Sanjeev,
    Please listen to Dr Mira Shiva  on the basis(One of them) of her report to Indian Govt.. the decision is still on hold for BT Brinjal Introduction..
    Warning for Sanjeev ;) : You can ignore the part by Vandana Shiva in the clip
    There are so many clips of World famous Doctors and scientists on YouTube .. I am looking for a good document
    I will also go through your suggested link .. Thanks..
    Yeah , I dont have any expectations for Subsidy or help , it will only worsen the situation.

  35. Vijay Mohan

    Dear Nitin,
    One thing you need to understand that this process is almost free.Neem trees are abundant in India. just drop a nimbori , 95% of time it will be a Neem tree and this happens naturally ..its one of the highest grown tree without human efforts.
    Chemical Fertililzers/Pesticides are expensive and chemical grown Crops are very much dependent on Water availability .. and these require special seeds , Normal seeds doesnt support most of the chemicals.
    Overall these techniques are in use .. and In India on an average 0.70 acre of land is available per farmer.
    Using these tehniques will make sure that the inputs are really very low cost . So profit is unavoidable to farmers.
    Increasing cost of production and low revenues because of policies are the main cause that no farmer wants his son to be a farmer anymore .. I agree
    That is Why ORGANIC is a solution
    Cow Urine and Dung is different than other creatures … You can check there chemical composition that its really a Natural Scientific Miracle. ow urine is also a part of some Ayurvedic Medicines and its proven .