Many would agree with the statement that organic production is more sustainable than traditional production, causes less harm to the environment, can adapt to climate change and maintain a stable level of fertility over a longer period of time. It is actively developing in the EU countries, the USA. Increasingly, organic products are preferred in Ukraine. Against this background, the development of organic farming takes place, and the cultivation of organic amaranth here deserves attention.
How we look at the general background
The production of environmentally friendly products began in the west in the 60s of the last century. For Ukraine, this direction is relatively new. The mass consumer found out about this product and began to give preference to it only in the 21st century.
At the legislative level, some rules have already been regulated for producers and sellers of environmental goods. So, in particular, fertilizer for plants and animal feed should be natural, without uniform chemical impurities. The land on which livestock grazes must be unpolluted and not treated with chemicals. The same requirements for the land on which plant products are grown. In addition, the eco-farm, the organic field must be fenced off from the rest of the territory of the buffer zone. If there is a highway, another farm, or fields that are treated with chemicals, the scale of the buffer zone should be larger. In addition, environmentally friendly products can not be produced using technologies that cause harm to the environment.
Even under strict rules, the market for environmental goods continues to grow. In the west, it has become an accepted phenomenon, has a wide range of varieties of goods and services. For Ukraine, the market for organic food may become the most targeted sector. The reason is that we have good agricultural resources and a reputable food manufacturer. The number of consumers of such goods in Ukraine continues to grow, but in the west this direction is developing much more dynamically. Ukraine already exports its eco-products to the EU, and about 10% of all products of this category are exported. But Western insiders say that not all environmental imports from Ukraine go to store shelves, and the reason is the unsatisfactory quality. The main export destinations include the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Israel and Canada.
The certified organic market began its activity in Ukraine in 2006. Since then, he has shown some gain. So, in 2008, its capacity was 600 thousand euros. In 2011, the year – 5.1 million euros. The positive trend continued next year. Further traced some decline. The situation began to gradually stabilize in the 2015th year. The number of certified eco-farms in 2015 amounted to 155 enterprises. The total area of organic farming was 270 thousand hectares. It is worth noting that global organic production has a total area of 37 million hectares. At the same time, about 33% of the total area is located in Australia, 12% – in Argentina and 5% – in the USA.
According to statistics, the share of sales of the organic segment does not exceed 1% of the total sales of food. In Europe, this figure is 5%, while consumer demand for organic products is growing by 8% -10% annually. The trend for environmental friendliness is more popular in the USA: more than 40% of residents consume such products there. In Ukraine, the demand for organic matter is growing by 2.4% annually. But, as the survey data testify, 54% of Ukrainians are ready to overpay for organic products, but if the cost is not 20% higher than usual.
What does the transition to organic production lead to?
What constitutes organic farming in general, at a seminar on the cultivation and processing of amaranth, Iskander Bikbaev, director of SibAgro, told quite popularly. He immediately noted that organic farming in general is a separate system for the production of organic products and has no relation to intensive technologies. Everything here is natural – from growing technology to storage technology, and has its own marketing, its own logistics, its customers. On the benefits of organic farming Iskander Bikbaev noted that this:
• minimum costs (they are several times less per hectare than with intensive technologies;
• high prices for products.
It is also worth noting that there is no question of a large gross collection. According to Iskander Bikbaev, there is no point in pursuing a big shaft. After all, at low cost and high prices for products you can get a good profit.
In organic matter in general and in the cultivation of organic amaranth in particular, chemistry is unacceptable. This also applies to weed control. Regarding the second, Iskander Bikbayev believes that only a mechanical method is possible here, and all pests and diseases should be dealt with only with the help of biologics. Moreover, such drugs, according to Bikbaev, are much more effective than chemical ones.
Effective certified biologics
In Ukraine, the company BioTsentr is well-known, which produces biopreparations for protecting plants from diseases and pests, and 9 such preparations are certified for organic farming. This means that each component has been certified. They are based on live bacteria of fungi, viruses. The shelf life of “living” plant protection products is 2 months.
Here, some farmers can argue that two months is not enough. But, according to the experts of the Biocenter, the time period for the cultivation of amaranth is such that one supply of a “live” drug is sufficient.
The commercial director of the Biocentre, Nikolay Teteruk, told about the diversity of such drugs and their features at a workshop on growing amaranth. In particular, the company produces the universal drug Pentafag-S M, which is used against bacterial diseases and against pests. It helps to protect the plant from the entire spectrum of diseases and pests.
Buying a drug manufactured by Biocentre or another company, it will not be superfluous to pay attention to the composition. Nikolai Teteruk advises to give preference to those where not only the list of trace elements is indicated, but also the form in which a particular substance is presented.
Here, many may argue: amaranth is a sustainable culture and in this regard, pests can be excluded. However, experience has shown that amaranth can suffer from five pests, and this is:
- beet flea plants (common, southern, western);
- cruciferous flea;
- beet leaf aphid / bean aphid;
- weevils; meadow butterfly.
Amaranth can suffer from root rot or diseases of the leaf apparatus. According to Nikolai Teteruk, too early sowings are especially susceptible to diseases when the positive temperature has not yet been established. The specialist advises also to carry out dressing on the seedlings, and here it is better not to delay the deadlines, because amaranth rises very quickly, and a month after the emergence of the seedlings, the equipment simply cannot enter the field without harming the plants. The cost of acquiring the relevant drugs for the protection and fertilizing of amaranth, according to the estimates of the Biocentre’s specialists, is 3-4% of the total volume of products sold.