Importance of residue free farming in India

Nilesh Palresha, Executive Director, EarthFood Headquartered in Pune, EarthFood is an organic farm products company offering a wide array of Fruits & Vegetables that are naturally grown, without the influence of any chemicals or other harmful practices.

Ever since the inception, agriculture has played a vital role in shaping the Indian economy. Today in the 21st century agriculture and the allied sectors contribute to about 13.75 percent of the GDP. Agriculture segment in India stands as one of the largest employer with about 58 percent of the rural household depending up on agriculture as their primary means of livelihood. Considering the huge leap in this segment it is imperative to understand the growing opportunities for a lot of young entrepreneurs to entre in the field of agriculture.

Penetration of technology and the substantial increase in the horizon of the digital media has created a positive rift in lives of the human population. In today’s environment, health has been one of the top most priority in the lives of majority of the individuals and due to easy access to a lot of diversified content, people have become extremely aware about the consumption of the agriculture produce. In order to cater to this huge segment of health conscious people, it is necessary to incorporate the method of reside free farming.

Residue free farming in not much complicated terms can be explained as the use of organically derived biocides and bio fertilizers to protect the crops and augment their growth. Technology in today's world plays a significant role in each and every segment and agriculture being no different, it imperative to understand the role of technology in agriculture. By adopting modern day agri technologies like greenhouses, drip irrigation system, fertigation, if m- integrated fertilizers management, ipm- integrated pest management, rain water harvesting, high density plantation, contour farming, waste land utilization, etc. plays key role in residue free production. It becomes comparatively easy to maintain the quality of the
produce and in another way it also enhances the nutritional value of the produce.

Due to an increasing awareness in regards to leading a healthy lifestyle, people now are highly focused on the benefits attributed to the consumption of fresh and residue free vegetables

One of the imperative points that needs to be addressed in regards to the agri segment is the extensive abuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The use of fertilizers and pesticides has had a very negative impact on the environment leading to a potential damage to the agriculture produce as well as the health of masses who consume it. The extensive abuse of chemical fertilizers has led to a change in the health of the soil leading to the depletion of the nutritional value of the product and thus creating a hazardous impact on the consumers of the product. It should also be noted that the use of chemical fertilizers not only affects the people consuming the produce but also the people dealing with the same, hence making it essential to emphasis the use of organic fertilizers that are non-residual in nature. This in turn would increase the health benefits, freshness and the longevity of the produce. Most of the produce sold today are full of chemicals /preservatives used to prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables but in this process they pose health hazards to people consuming them. Good health is life’s greatest blessing and fresh produce go a long way in maintaining a balanced healthy life. They are rich in nutrients and antioxidants and are much more flavourful as compared to the ones with residue/chemicals. Apart from being nutritious and tasty, farm fresh produce are ready to eat the minute you receive them.

“Eat healthy to stay fit” has been the approach of the younger generation and taking this demand into consideration it is essential to understand the concept of farm to fork which primarily relates in reducing/minimizing the human handling of the produce which in turn would enhance the quality of the produce. In order to meet the expected standards of the consumers it is necessary to integrate the process of residue free farming. The process of growing the produce starts form crop selection, land preparation, seed selection, seed sowing, irrigation, crop growth & maintenance, harvesting, grading, packaging, and transportation to Retail Outlets/Customers. An important element to note in the process is the lack of use of chemical fertilizers and use of natural fertilizers like compost. This one change itself accounts for a big difference in the residue content of the produce and takes it a notch further in making it residue free.

Due to a rapid evolution in the consumer behaviour and increasing awareness in regards to leading a healthy lifestyle, people now are highly focused on the benefits attributed to the consumption of fresh and residue free vegetables. It is however the need of the hour to welcome this change by adopting the practice of residue free farming where in the food which is produced is pure, fresh, healthy and nutritious. The residue free produce is grown in an ecofriendly way and without the use of any hazardous chemical fertilizers which will in turn be beneficial to the end consumer in the best possible way.