An organic agricultural product is one that during the entire cultivation process did not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, but organic fertilizers, biofertilizers and biological control of pests.
In this way, production is based on the principles of the natural development of plants, explained Arcadio Monroy Ata, specialist of the Faculty of Superior Studies (FES) Zaragoza of the UNAM.
Organic products are healthier, since they do not contain traces of chemicals, have better taste and smell; In addition, its cultivation benefits soil productivity. And although its price is higher, this is because its management in the field involves more work, he said.
To guarantee the organic origin of the products, the farmer must have a certification from specialized companies. These companies guide the conversion process (from conventional to organic production), said the person responsible for the Research Unit in Plant Ecology of the FES Zaragoza.
"For example, if the land has a history of chemical fertilizers, it should be treated and kept at rest for five years until it is clean of toxic waste. These companies also provide advice on compliance with the regulations that apply in our country, the Organic Products Law published in 2006 ”.
Organic agriculture, he added, depends on biopesticides, usually solutions that contain caffeine, bicarbonate or vinegar, substances capable of annihilating insects. The soil needs nutrients that the common farmer provides through chemical fertilizers; instead, the organic producer provides nutrients derived from organic matter and its decomposition.
The microorganisms that live in the soil decompose the organic matter and thus they elaborate the nitrogen, the phosphorus and the potassium that the plant requires for its development. It emphasizes the function of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi or mycorrhizae, which establish a relationship of mutual benefit with the plant.
While it lets them devour their sugars, fungi provide water and nutrients. Currently, organic producers use biofertilizers based on mycorrhizas and other microorganisms with similar action.
Dr. Monroy and his collaborators have characterized mycorrhizal fungi, obtained from soil samples from the Valle del Mezquital, Hidalgo. Once identified with a microscope, they are grown in a sterile soil associated with a plant (English pasture).
"We wait for the plant to grow and then let it dry. As soon as the fungus stops receiving sugars it begins to reproduce. With this technique we can obtain thousands of new fungi in a short time. "
This biological material is useful to reintroduce and maintain plants in deteriorated arid soils. "The key element of organic agriculture are mycorrhizal fungi."
Worldwide there are about 300 recorded species; in Mexico we know about 70. What is needed is to characterize and develop species that can be used in blue corn, tomato and wheat, because they are specific in each plant and type of soil. "This would help to extend organic farming in our country," he concluded.