Intensive farming is an agricultural system that aims to produce maximum yield from available land. This farming is applicable to the yield of the livestock also. You could say food is produced in large quantities with the help of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The products such as eggs, meat and many agricultural products available in many supermarkets are produced using modern intensive farming. Intensive farming is practiced widely by many of the developed economies of the world. Sustainable intensive farming, intensive aquaculture, intensive live stock farming and managed intensive grazing fall under intensive farming. Here we look at both the advantages and the disadvantages of intensive farming.
Advantages of Intensive Farming
One of the major advantages of intensive farming is that its yield is high.
With the introduction of intensive farming, the farm produce such as vegetables, fruits and poultry products have become less expensive. This means that poor people can afford a balanced and nutritious diet.
Many opine, organic food is affordable only to the rich and the elite strata of the society. Apart from that, large farming spaces are required to cultivate organic crops using natural manure. However, with the introduction of intensive farming, the space requirement for farming is less.
Another advantage of intensive farming is that large productivity of food is possible with less amount of land. This would help to meet the ever-growing demand for food supplies.
Compared to the disadvantages, the advantages of intensive farming are less.
Disadvantages of Intensive Farming
Remember, intensive farming involves the usage of various kinds of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. Apart from this, intensive farming is also associated with farms that keep livestock above their holding capacity and this could lead to pollution and various diseases.
Reports and studies reveal intensive farming affects and alters the environment in multiple ways. Forests are destroyed to create large open fields and this could lead to soil erosion. Intensive farming affects the natural habitats in the forests. Use of chemical fertilizers contaminates water bodies such as lakes and rivers near the farming land.
The pesticides sprayed on crops not only destroy pests and contaminate the crops but also kill good insects. Eventually, these chemicals are passed on to the human beings.
The fruits and vegetables bought from farms that promote intensive farming are covered with invisible pesticide. These are not easily washed off. The residue of the pesticide affect the health of human beings.
The statistics show, an increase in the number of cancer patients. Researchers opine, consumption of inorganic vegetables, fruits, poultry and meat could probably be one of the reasons.
There are many hybrid varieties of livestock and poultry today. The livestock and poultry are injected with hormones and other chemicals to increase the yield. There is a tug of war between the animal rights activist and farmers of intensive farming. However, the debate is still on going without much success.
There are both pros and cons in promoting intensive farming. Intensive farming involves genetic selection and breeding of both plants and animals. Artificial growth hormones and inorganic plant nutrients are mixed with the fertilizers and livestock feed. This results in the highest yield of all time. On one side, the health of human beings is largely affected by intensive farming, while on the other side, it is argued that the poor and needy cannot simply afford organic food.