Bochcareva  D., Sibul T., Tsvetaeva O.

Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University


Throughout the entire period of development of human society the problem of providing the population with foodstuffs has been the most topical and urgent. As the population size on our planet has been increasing, every country has been paying great attention to the improvement of agricultural systems as the fertile lands and rich harvests are necessary in order to receive the vast majority of people’s foodstuffs.

By the middle of the 20th century agriculture, which had gone throuh the path of development of the traditional forms, gradually began to switch over to the industrial ways of farming with wide use of fertilizers, pesticides, new varieties of plants and new types of farm equipment. This was caused by the deficit of foodstuffs in the world, necessity in raising the level of crop yield. But with the lapse of time it appeared that modern industrial methods of farming led to the reduction in quality of foodstuffs, their contamination, accumulation of hazardous substances in them and also contributed to the degradation of croplands.

In connection with this, to date a number of alternative tendencies in agriculture have appeared, the task of which is to stop the barbarian treatment of the soil and nature, to grow tasty and healthy ecologically clean foodstuffs with the minimum expenditure of labour and other recourses. These types of farming are also called biological or organic. As the foreign scholars tell us, alternative agriculture is ethics of attitude to soil. The main point of it lies in the total or partial renunciation of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and growth regulators.

Movement for the alternative agriculture develops, mostly, in the industrialized countries, where the negative effects of the intensification of agriculture of the recent years have become more apparent.

Great attention in the alternative agriculture is also paid to the control over puddling. To this effect only light farm equipment is used (many French farmers have returned to the usage of horses). For weed control only biological methods are applied.

Biological agricultural system is used mainly in France. The basic fertilizer is organic one as it is a specific feed source for plants. For pest and disease control fire measures are recommended and against weeds- mechanical ones. Application of nontoxic preparations is allowed.

In the USA organic agricultural system has become widespread. The main characteristics of the organic farming lie in the fact that foodstuffs must be grown, kept and processed without use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and growth regulators. Before the harvesting ashes, chalkstone, gypsum, fish emulsion, soap could be applied. European and American biological farming allow also using dung, composts, lime. For pest control garlic and tobacco dust are employed.

The youngest tendency in alternative agriculture is organic biological agricultural system, which is widespread mainly in Sweden and Switzerland. The basis of the system is aspiration for creation of living and healthy soil for account of supporting its microflora. Farm is considered to be a single organism with clearly regulated nutrients’ turnover and cyclicity. Fields should be occupied by vegetation for a long time, stubble remains should be digged into the surface soil, legume-grasses should be cultivated in crop rotation. Only organic (humus) and some mineral fertilizers are allowed to use. Thereby not plant but soil is fertilized.

Alternative agriculture in the Western Europe and in the USA has gained its official recognition and exists on legal grounds. Farmers who apply it associate in unions. These unions often have their own publications. State organs exercise official control of observance by farmers of the requirements of growing of agricultural products without the means of chemicalization.

During the last years a number of new tendencies in alternative agriculture appeared, but the characteristic of all is that methods and techniques, which are used in the agrotechnology, don’t ruin the soil or reduce fertility. On the contrary, they restore it. With the help of these methods natural increase of humus layer takes place, soil microflora is restored, for account of this plants become strong, healthy, and able to resist diseases and pests.

The other peculiarity lies in the fact that with the help of alternative agriculture natural balance of insects and small species of animals is restored, food chain is rebuilt, where there is a mouth for every head. In this way, the number of beneficial insects and pests is regulated in its natural way.

One more peculiarity of alternative agriculture is that receiving of rich harvests is not a purpose, but a result. The purpose is to save the nature for the future generations and grow useful for people, full-fledged foodstuffs.