Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | May 12, 2007

Food and Agricultural Organization promotes organic

Organics may decrease dependence on oil and environmental impact throughout the world, experts say

During a conference May 3 to 5, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a paper encouraging organic agriculture throughout the world. The report, titled “Organic Agriculture and Food Security” and presented at the International Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security, examines organic growing’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to food security.

“By managing biodiversity in time (rotations) and space (mixed cropping), organic farmers use their labour and environmental services to intensify production in a sustainable way,” the paper states. “Organic agriculture also breaks the vicious circle of indebtedness for agricultural inputs which causes an alarming rate of farmers’ suicides.”

According to the Codex Alimentarius Commission and all existing national regulations, “Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system that avoids use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms, minimizes pollution of air, soil and water, and optimizes the health and productivity of interdependent communities of plants, animals and people.”

Because it avoids synthetics, the paper recognizes organic agriculture’s independence from petroleum as one of its most beneficial features. Production of synthetic fertilizers, especially the production of nitrogen, relies heavily on oil. According to the paper, organic agriculture relies on local inputs instead, which increases cost effectiveness and, when used properly, reduces environmental impact.

Additionally, the paper examines the long-term economic benefits for developing countries.

“Most certified organic food production in developing countries goes to export,” the paper states. “When certified cash crops are linked with agro-ecological improvements and accrued income for poor farmers, this leads to improved food self-reliance and revitalization of small holder agriculture.”



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