Prelims 2021

Q. How is permaculture farming different from conventional chemical farming?

1.Permaculture farming discourages monocultural practices but in conventional chemical farming, monoculture practices are predominant.
2.Conventional chemical farming can cause an increase in soil salinity but the occurrence of such phenomenon is not observed in permaculture farming.
3.Conventional chemical farming is easily possible in semi-arid regions but permaculture farming is not so easily possible in such regions.
4.Practice of mulching is very important in permaculture farming but not necessarily so in conventional chemical farming.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.
a) 1 and 3
b) 1, 2 and 4
c) 4 only
d) 2 and 3
Correct Answer: b) 1, 2 and 4

Question from UPSC Prelims 2021 GS Paper

Explanation : 

Permaculture Farming

In the realm of agriculture, permaculture farming stands in stark contrast to conventional chemical farming by actively discouraging monocultural practices. Instead, it promotes polycultures and a variety of plant and animal species to foster a self-regulating ecosystem. Conventional farming, with its focus on monocultures, may lead to issues such as pest infestations and soil degradation.

Impact on Soil Salinity

Conventional chemical farming can inadvertently increase soil salinity, particularly when fertilizers and irrigation are mismanaged. This accumulation of salts can be detrimental to plant life and overall farm productivity. In contrast, permaculture farming employs organic techniques like composting and crop rotation, which help maintain the soil’s health without contributing to salinity.

Adaptability to Semi-Arid Regions

Contrary to the belief that permaculture is unsuitable for semi-arid regions, it can be tailored to fit such environments. Permaculture design principles take into account local conditions, focusing on water conservation, soil preservation, and the selection of crops and livestock that thrive in arid climates. This is in comparison to conventional farming, which also operates in these regions but often relies heavily on irrigation and chemical aids.

The Role of Mulching in Agriculture

Mulching is a core component of permaculture farming, where it serves multiple purposes, including moisture conservation, weed suppression, and soil fertility enhancement. While mulching is also present in conventional farming, it is not as integral to the practice as it is in permaculture, where it contributes to the overarching goal of creating a sustainable ecosystem.

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