Reading comprehension is an important part of the English Language section in any Bank PO and Government exam. Here’s Reading Comprehension Quiz 11 from our series of Practice Reading Comprehension Quiz. Take the Reading Comprehension Quiz 11 and share your scores in the comment section below.
Reading Comprehension Quiz 11
Directions for Questions 1 to 15: Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
Organic farming is either really expensive or really cheap, depending on where you live and whether or not you are certified. Not only are the “natural” pesticides and fertilizers increasingly marketed by agribusiness as costly as or costlier than their chemical counterparts, but proving you are an organic farmer requires certification, which is time-consuming and expensive. In the USA, converting to organic agriculture is a huge undertaking for commercial farmers, who have relied on chemical fertilizers and pesticides for many decades, but in India, the conversion is no less arduous and far more ironic.
India’s farmers are still mostly practicing organic methods passed down for millennia. Organic fertilizer and natural pest control are the only tools available to most of these farmers who have always lacked the financial resources to explore chemical solutions. But these farmers, whose produce is as organic as they come, cannot afford to pay the fees required to gain official certification.
As the international community adopts standards for organic agriculture, the challenges faced by farmers in the USA versus farmers in India in order to adapt are very different indeed. The danger is that the well-intentioned global move towards organic standards will make small organic farmers in countries like India, who have never done anything but organic farming, no longer able to sell the crops.
In response to the $26-billion global market for organic foods, the Indian Central Government set up a National Institute of Organic Farming in October 2003. The purpose of this institute is to formulate rules, regulations and certification of organic farm products in conformity with international standards. The institute has its offices across the country and has appointed certifying agencies of organic farm products for the domestic market. The certifying agencies are accountable for confirming that any product sold with the new “India Organic” logo is in accordance with international criteria, and launch major awareness and marketing campaigns in India and abroad.
Organic farming has been identified as a major thrust area of the 10th plan of the Central Government. 1 billion rupees have been allocated to the aforementioned National Institute of Organic Farming alone for the 10th five-year plan. Despite this, most of India’s organic farms are not officially considered organic. Most of India’s farms are “organic by default.” The irony and difficulty of the new governmental push for organic agriculture is that 65% of the country’s cropped area is “organic by default,” according to a study. By this somewhat degrading term they mean that small farmers, located mostly in the Eastern and North Eastern regions of the country, have no choice except to farm without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Though this is true in many cases, it is also true that a significant number of them have chosen to farm organically, as their forefathers have done for thousands of years. Many have seen for themselves the effects of chemical farming—soil erosion and loss of soil nutrition, loss of nutrient in food, and human diseases resulting from the chemicals that inevitably seep into the water table, all the reasons for the urgent demand for organic foods and farming.
India currently has only 1,426 certified organic farms. This statistical discrepancy reveals that the weak link in the organic/economic chain is certification. Under current government policy, it takes fours year for a farm to be certified as organic. The cost of preparing the report is a flat fee of ` 500 and the certificate itself cost another ` 5,000. While these costs are bearable for the new industrial organic greenhouses, they are equal to or more than an entire year’s income for the average some farmer, if the costs of travel and inspection are included.
In the United States, an organic farm plan or organic handling plan must be submitted to a USDA-accredited private or state certification program. The plan must explain all current growing and handling methods, and any materials that will be used in the present and any future plans must be included as well. Records for the last five years must be presented. Land must be chemical-free for three years prior to harvest, so a conventional farmer cannot receive the organic label for the transitional years. This will generally mean a decrease in income crops may be less plentiful than with conventional fertilizers and pesticides, and yet the higher price for organic products won’t yet be possible. Many farmers cannot afford the transition, even if they want to.
One solution to the small farmer’s dilemma of how to both certify and survive is that of community certification. In community certification, communities, on a non-profit basis, take charge of the certification process themselves. They evaluate the farmer’s commitment to the stewardship of the soil, and examine from many angles whether the food is being grown in an environmentally sensitive way or not, rather than technical standards. While community certification may be a viable solution on the local level, it is our opinion that, in the global marketplace, less than exact technical standards will never be enough for today’s consumer and, in today’s largely poisoned environment, it shouldn’t be, either. Furthermore, such “soft” guidelines can easily backfire on the farmers themselves, as a system not based on facts must be by definition subject to local politics, bribery, favouritism, etc.
India must find a way to keep the strict international organic standards intact if it wants to compete in the international market for organic foods but is there a way to do it without leaving small farmers out in the cold? One obvious solution is for the government to subsidize these certification fees enough to make it a viable option for ordinary farmers, not just for neo-organic factory farms and greenhouses. Banks also could provide a more level playing field for small farmers. Currently, almost all bank loans are for pure crop farmers. While many of these big-business farmers use harmful chemicals and processes, small farmers fertilizing their soil with recycled organic wastes are usually ineligible for insurance, much less state subsidies.
- What role does the National Institute of Organic Farming have to play in the organic farming area?
(1) To set standards for the import of material required for organic farming within India
(2) To ensure that Indian farm products conform to the international standard for organic foods
(3) To suggest methods to farmers for producing the best organic products
(4) To import the best organic foods from international countries and harvest them i n India
(5) To set up agencies internationally for the marketing of Indian organic produce
- Which of the following is possibly the most appropriate title for the passage?
(1) Agribusiness in India
(2) Organic F arming in India—An Irony
(3) Inorganic Farming—A Health Hazard
(4) Small and Marginal Fanners
(5) Organic Farming in India and the US
- Why, according to the author, is the term “organic by default” degrading?
(1) As Indian farmers are adopting incorrect methods of organic farming, thereby rendering the crop useless
(2) As the crop cultivated out of organic farming is rejected by most international agencies
(3) As all the farmers in India do not have any access to chemical fertilizers and pesticides to carry out inorganic farming
(4) As the govt. has issued a directive to farmers in India to carry out organic farming alone
(5) As it means that the farmers in India cannot afford to use anything but organic methods of farming
- Which of the following are reasons for the increasing demand for organic foods and organic farming?
- Consumption of inorganic food has given rise to illnesses.
- Excessive use of pesticides has caused soil erosion.
- There has been a loss in soil nutrient value of soil due to chemical farming.
(1) Only B
(2) Only A
(3) Only C
(4) Only B and C
(5) All A, B and C are true
- Why, according to the author, will the idea of community certification not work?
(1) As there may not be enough people in the community to work on a non-profit basis
(2) As the farmers may not be forthcoming in providing information about their cultivation practices and thus lead to the failure of this system
(3) As the certification granted through this scheme will not be authentic at all
(4) As certification sought in this manner may give rise to vested interests and also not meet the stringent criteria laid down globally
(5) None of these
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- Which of the following is TRUE in the context of the passage?
A The Indian govt. is not in favor of acquiring certification to meet global standards.
- The process of certification is quite time-consuming and expensive.
- The farmer does not earn much during the three-four years that it takes to get certification.
(1) Only A and C
(2) Only B
(3) Only B and C
(4) Only A and B
(5) All A B and C
- What, according to the author, is a major problem with organic farming in India?
(1) Despite their organic nature, most farms in India are not perceived as organic because of mere paper work.
(2) The Govt. has not paid attention to organic farming in India, thereby promoting inorganic farming to a great extent.
(3) Only recycled organic waste is available to Indian farmers for the purpose of organic farming to a great extent.
(4) Indian farmers are accustomed to the usage of chemicals and their farms have now started losing their fertility.
(5) A large number of farmers in India are averse to the idea of organic farming as it is not profitable
- Which of the following, according to the author, are factors that can help in acquiring organic farming certification in India?
- Providing more bank loans to small farmers
- Reducing the quantum of loans being provided to pure crop farmers
- Lowering the cost of certification
(1) Only A
(2) Only C
(3) Only A and C
(4) Only B and C
(5) All A, B and C
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Directions for Questions 9 to 12: Choose the word/group of words which is most similar in meaning to the word/group of words printed in bold as used in the passage.
Directions for Questions 13 to 15: Choose the word/group of words which is most opposite in meaning of the word/group of words printed in bold as used in the passage.
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Reading Comprehension Quiz 01
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