By Ellaine Kryss Hubilla

Natural farming, or the cultivation of crops or livestock using organic farming methods (but not necessarily with organic certification), is gaining a lot of attention due to its many benefits for humans and the environment. These include an eco-friendly cultivation process and chemical-free harvests, reasons enough for many farmers to exert extra time and effort in growing naturally farmed goods.

Here are other reasons many farmers are trying out natural farming: 

Produce nutritious crops. Soil is responsible for providing nutrients to the crops planted in it. Natural farming provides food of good quality due to proper soil management. The use of animal manure to improve the health of the soil supplies the crops with necessary nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

Prevent soil erosion. The use of green manure (plants grown specifically to be returned to the soil as fertilizer) is also utilized to bring back nutrients in the soil after the primary crop is harvested. It is also a great way to reestablish the health of the soil which makes it more resilient to soil erosion.  

Preserve biodiversity. Biodiversity can also be developed and nurtured through natural farming. The place where natural farming operates is an ideal habitat for various species because it allows them to breathe clean air that makes them naturally healthy and resistant to illness.

Mitigate climate change. Natural farming fights against climate change. Admittedly, the use of synthetically made fertilizers and pesticides to cultivate crops and livestock contributes a huge amount of greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane. However, the soil of naturally cultivated farms can store carbon, keeping it from contributing to the worsening problem of global warming.

Protect water quality. Aside from reducing the impact of climate change, natural farming can also improve the composition of water by decreasing the amount of preservatives which usually contaminates the water.

The practice of natural agriculture will not prosper without effort from the public. With the benefits mentioned above, it is safe to say that natural farming has done a lot of good things already, but the most important impact of natural farming as a form of sustainable agriculture is that it can protect the future of humanity.

The solution to the emerging global problems is right before our very eyes. The initiative to take part and invest in good agricultural practices can efficiently improve and sustain our health, our environment, and significantly fight against challenging global issues such as climate change. 

From the seminar titled Organic Farming for Newbies presented by Agricultural Engineer and a Registered Organic Farmer Martina Reyna, held at Agriculture Training Institute Elliptical Road, Quezon City.