By Worms With Natural Science
These new stories are based in the province of Buenos Aires and rescue the value of being able to cultivate organically, respecting people's health and the environment. The result is products with authentic and long-lasting flavors, just like the old ones.
What is the "secret" to the success of these organic producers? Improve the physical structure of the soil and respect the processes of nature using traditional and non-invasive agricultural techniques for the soil, which is considered a “living being” and therefore needs to be in good health to produce more and better.
Eastern wisdom applied to the land
Alejandro Sasaki, of Japanese descent, produces on his 40-hectare plot located in the town of Monte Grande, 80 tons of rice with very good yields naturally, without using any type of chemical product.
In addition, this producer harvests 30 tons per year of up to sixty varieties of local vegetables, among them: lettuce, cabbage, squash, leeks, beets, green onions and potatoes, and also other oriental vegetables such as: burdock, hakusai, nira, cucumber, turnip, negi, shiso, pack-choi and satoimo; all organic. Likewise, in the agro-industrial sector, it makes sauce, pasta and soy cheese, also organic.
It markets its products "on demand" and the company sets the price regardless of the market and tries to keep it constant throughout the year. Although he says that it is difficult to calculate the billing, he estimates that the economic result is "enough to live on," as he told La Nación at a stop in his daily work.
Its inspiration comes from the Japanese philosopher Okada (1882-1955) who demonstrated that it could be grown without pesticides, with benefit for human health and soil care. "For us it was a challenge, and that's how we got to the present, without using any agrochemicals and offering consumers healthy and nutritious foods," he told the Argentine morning newspaper.
Also, in a quarter of a hectare seeds are produced. “This is a fundamental point in natural agriculture, which also requires certification of seed not treated with fungicides. As conventionally the seeds sold by the shops in the industry are treated with chemical products, we have to obtain them ourselves ”, explained the horticulturist.
... the use of good compost to fertilize the soils is central ...
For Seiki, working with the earth is the most important thing and that is why the use of good compost to fertilize the soils is central, as well as the establishment of a biological circuit in which plant varieties interact. The most laborious thing that results from the whole process is the weeding of the plots since this must be done "by hand and meter by meter".
Benito Juárez: less inputs, less expenses = more production
A model field, in the town of Benito Juárez, shows how similar returns to those of other neighboring establishments can be obtained with much less investment. The field has more than 17 years of production, with an average of 3,300 kilos of wheat in 150 hectares planted per year and the average of the neighboring fields, in the same proportions, is only 240 kilos more.
However, the biggest difference lies in the cost of inputs. "The farm next door used approximately $ 425 in input costs and we used $ 150," explained agronomist Eduardo Cerdá, in a dialogue with The Epoch Times.
For Cerdá, what most differentiates this holistic system is that they see the soil as a living organism that is composed of many micro and macro organisms, and that therefore livestock plays a fundamental role, since for it to have good health It must be fed well, in this case with the animal's manure.
This model proposes that the soil -being well fed- will not have disease problems that require fungicides and as the design of the fields favors beneficial fauna in the biological cords, there will be no insect problems either.
"We end up being organic or without the use of toxins because we do not need them ... We are contrasting it with biological processes," explained the engineer.
The agroecological model also adopts as a strategy, in several fields in the province of Buenos Aires, the implementation of polycultures, that is, mixtures of crops, such as oats with vicia, wheat, oats and barley with red clover and sorghums with vicia; and it also encourages crop rotation.
Good insects vs bad insects
Another benefit of organic farming is that by removing harmful pesticides from the equation, you conserve those predatory pests that naturally eat other pests destroying crops. Ladybugs, for example, are often used in integrated organic farming to kill aphids and other crop destroyers. Methods that coat conventional crops with poisons kill insects and ladybugs cannot survive, that means pesticide resistant insects will eventually prevail.
Female wasps are also beneficial, as we know that they insert their eggs directly into harmful pests like flies and aphids, killing them naturally from the inside out. Although it represents a somewhat disturbing mental image, the eventually inserted larvae eat the harmful pest on their way out to become an adult wasp. This process represents a more natural way that organic agriculture can take care of destructive pests without using chemicals.
Clearing the way, returning to the natural
Not everything is rosy, of course these organic producers were faced with great challenges at the beginning, since today everything is paved for short-term profits with the “help” of chemicals and the competition is very intense.
Agroecology is totally opposite to the short-term approach of the predominant production model based on biotechnology, since through organic farming it is possible to obtain - in the medium or long term and with a lot of work - more and better yields.