Rising demand for residue-free vegetables FARM TO FORK
The drastic shift in consumer behaviour towards healthy consumption has created an enormous opportunity for many budding entrepreneurs to enter residue-free farming. Keeping in mind the “eat healthy and stay young” mantra of the younger generation, it is
Healthy consumption has created an opportunity for entrepreneurs to enter residue-free farming.
Eat healthy and stay young is the new mantra for the young generation that believes in staying fit. Contributing to this belief is the huge influence of social media in the health care segment, which has led to this remarkable change in eating habits of a majority in the population. In support of this change, there has been a sharp rise in the demand of residuefree vegetables. This drastic shift in consumer behavior has created an enormous opportunity for many budding entrepreneurs to enter residue-free farming.
Residue-free farming is the use of organically derived biocides and bio-fertilizers to protect the crops and enhance their growth. Considering the role that technology plays in the environment, it is impossible to omit its role in the field of agriculture. By adopting modern day agri-technologies like greenhouses, drip irrigation system, fertigation, integrated fertilizers management, integrated pest management, residuefree production, rain water harvesting, high density plantation, contour farming, waste land utilization, etc., it becomes relatively easy to maintain the quality of the produce and also add to its nutritional value.
Keeping in mind the “eat healthy and stay young” mantra of the younger generation, it is essential to understand the concept of farm to fork. It involves reducing/ minimizing the human handling of the produce which, in turn, enhances 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 – harvesting – grading – packaging – transportation – 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 cow dung and earthworm manure. 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.
For years, pesticides have played a pivotal role in the agriculture sector leading to a major imbalance in the eco-system. The use of toxic chemical fertilizers has had a very negative impact on the environment and has caused potential damage to agriculture produce as well as adversely affected the health of masses consuming them. The major disadvantage associated with the use of fertilizers is the change in the soil health, leading to 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 fertilizers not only affects the people consuming the produce but also the people dealing with the same, hence making it essential to emphasize that fertilizers that are non-residual in nature should only be used. This, in turn, will increase the health benefits, freshness and longevity of the produce. The time is now appropriate to encourage the use of organic fertilizers like manure, green manure, compost, etc.
In order to welcome this change, it is essential to adopt the practice of residue-free farming under which the food produced is pure, fresh, healthy and nutritious. As pointed out earlier, residue-free produce is grown in an eco-friendly way and without the use of any hazardous chemical fertilizers, which offers a host of health benefits to the end consumer.