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  Section: Medicinal Plants / Cultivation
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Alternate Agriculture

⇒ Eco-Friendly Farming
  ⇒ Evolution of Sustainable Agriculture
⇒ Organic Farming
⇒ Biological Farming
⇒ Nature Farming
⇒ Regenerative Agriculture
⇒ Permaculture
⇒ Alternate Agriculture
⇒ Ecological Agriculture
⇒ Ecological Farming Systems
  ⇒ Objectives of Ecological Farming
  ⇒ Prospects
  ⇒ Integrated Intensive Farming System (IIFS)
  ⇒ Low External Input Supply Agriculture (LEISA)
    ⇒ Low-Input Agriculture
    ⇒ Criteria for LEISA
    ⇒ Ecological Criteria
    ⇒ Economic Criteria
    ⇒ Social Criteria
⇒ Biodynamic Agriculture
  ⇒ Organic Farming vs. Biodynamic Farming
  ⇒ Principles of Biodynamic Farming
  ⇒ Rules for Using Biodynamic Agriculture
⇒ Organic Agriculture System
  ⇒ The Major Aims of Organic Farming
  ⇒ Concept of Organic Farming
  ⇒ Difference Between Organic and Conventional Farming
  ⇒ History of Organic Farming
  ⇒ Needs of Organic Farming
    ⇒ Needs for Organic Inputs
  ⇒ In Partnership With Nature
⇒ Basic Standards and General Principles for Organic Agriculture
  ⇒ Crop and Soil Management
  ⇒ Choice of Crops and Varieties
  ⇒ Crop Rotations
  ⇒ Nutrient Management
  ⇒ Management of Pests, Diseases and Weeds
  ⇒ Wild Products
  ⇒ Pollution Control
  ⇒ Soil and Water Conservation
    ⇒ Landscape
⇒ Principle Requirements and Pre-Conditions
⇒ Conversion From Conventional to Organic Farming
  ⇒ Farms With Plant Production and Livestock
  ⇒ Initiating Organic Farming
    ⇒ Medicinal Plants-The First Crops for Organic Farming
⇒ Important Tips for Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
⇒ Multi Tier Agriculture System for Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
    ⇒ Benefits of Multi-Tier Agriculture System (MTAS)
    ⇒ Selection of Shade Crops
    ⇒ Irrigation
    ⇒ Disease and Protection
    ⇒ Benefits for Farmers and the World
⇒ Indigenous Agricultural Practices for Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
  ⇒ Rationality of Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge/ Practices

Alternate Agriculture
Plant growth and crop production are complex processes that depend on many interactions between organisms. The trend of modern agriculture has been:
  1. To substitute monoculture and continuous culture for crop rotation and diversified agriculture
  2. To use genetically more uniform plants, that have a narrow genetic base
  3. To use inorganic fertilizers, rather than the more difficult-to-use organic manures, in combination with green manures
  4. To use herbicides and pesticides to combat weeds and pests, rather than more complex biological control mechanisms
  5. To make bigger fields by eliminating all vegetation between them

Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in alternative agriculture, organic farming and sustainable agriculture. In 1989, the Board on Agriculture of the National Research Council of the United States lent credence to this movement with the publication of a major study called Alternative Agriculture. Alternative agriculture is not a single system of organic, low input, regenerative, or sustainable farming. All these systems share an emphasis on management practices and on biological relationships between organisms.

Alternative agriculture recognizes that a piece of land on which crop plants are grown is first and foremost an ecosystem, and not a factory. An ecosystem has many interacting organisms that must remain in balance. Many natural processes occur in such an ecosystem and farmers should take advantage oi^ these natural processes, rather than try to circumvent them or destroy them with chemicals. Alternative agriculture rejects certain practices (such as heavy use of inorganic fertilizers), but most important are the practices it favours:
  1. Tillage that minimizes soil erosion even if it is more expensive
  2. Reliance on animal manures and green manures with minimal input of inorganic fertilizers
  3. Integrated pest management for pest control
  4. Management systems, such as crop rotations, that helps control weeds and disease organisms
  5. These techniques are not new of course, although some of them have been refined in recent years.

Organic farming is defined as production system, which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. To the maximum extent feasible, organic farming systems rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off-farm organic-wastes, mechanical cultivation mineral-bearing rocks, and aspects of biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and to supply plant nutrients, and to control insects, weeds and oilier pests (USD A, 1980).

The above definition of organic farming seems to be more appropriate as it considers the important aspects like sustainability of natural resources and environment. Organic farming is a production system which favours maximum use of organic material (crop residues, animal excreta, legumes, on and off farm organic wastes, growth regulators, bio-pesticides etc.) and discourages use of synthetically produced agro-inputs, for maintaining soil productivity and fertility and pest management under conditions of sustainable natural resources and healthy environment.


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