Increased profitability after organic conversion in Punjab and Uttarakhand

Photo Credit:  India Untravelled Photo Credit: India Untravelled

A study from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences found that conversion to organic farming in Punjab and Uttarakhand resulted in higher agricultural profitability. This was especially evident in low-input production systems such as those grown in Uttarakhand, because organic agriculture improved soil health through the use of on-farm fertility sources, such as animal manures, vermiculture and compost. Multi-cropping was critical on Uttarakhand farms, as it not only increased production on small plots, but also reduced the risk of loss during stressful conditions such as drought. Farmers in Punjab, on average, have larger operations than those in Uttarakhand, and are increasingly converting to organic production to become more independent in seed sourcing and nutrient inputs, to restore soil fertility, and to avoid pollution. After conversion to organic, farmers in Punjab were often able to become more economically independent and prosperous due to their decreased input costs. The study also found that organizations aiding farmers in organic conversion were critical to the success of the operations. Dr. Nicolaysen, the lead researcher in the study, explains the importance of transitional aid from organizations, stating, “They teach the farmers new methods and give practical and moral support during a time when they feel uncertain making such a large change in how they make their living.”