Organic Food Enough To Feed The World’s Hungry, Study Says

July 4, 2007 at 11:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 04 Jul) – The global problem of food security and hunger could be resolved if only there is an international effort to prioritize its integration to government programs, study says.

During the International Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Rome last month, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), presented a paper, aptly called Organic Agriculture and Food Security, that showed the strong and weak points of organic agriculture and its analysis on how it can effectively solve the problem of hunger vis-à-vis the fact that organic agriculture is not only being commercially practiced by developing countries like the Philippines, but also by at least 120 other countries, targeting the United States as a primary market.

In 2006, organic agriculture-based food products reaching the lucrative US market amounted to more than $40 billion. FAO underscored the organic agriculture, following certain models, can very well secure the problem of food scarcity.

An added value to this, of course, is the fact that organic agriculture is protective of the environment and the health of the people unlike the current mainstream and conventional agricultural practice.

According to FAO, the only thing that must be undertaken by policy makers—government officials and other concerned agencies—is to put organic agriculture on top of its policies and developmental priorities. It is important, FAO said, that government will allocate funds for organic agriculture as one of the ultimate forms of assistance that can be given as support for the growing industry.

Another important government action is to invest on the human resources which can be done by backing-up skills trainings in organic farming as part of the sustainable development strategies.

On the same conference, a group of researchers from Denmark also aired their belief that organic agriculture can help solve the global problem of hunger and on the same breadth, save keep the safety of the environment and the health of the people against the destructive and deadly effects of agro-chemicals used in conventional farming.

Danish Research Center for Organic Food and Farming told the UN conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security that while it is true that a large-scale change to organic farming could initially result in a slump of production to as much as 50 percent, the amount is too small compared to the loses if farms would continue to rely on highly chemical-dependent crops.

Using the sub-Saharan Africa as an example, the Danish researchers said that the food security of the region would not be seriously affected if half of the agricultural lands of the food exporting regions of Europe and North America will be devoted to organic agriculture by 2020.

An article written by Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press states that while food production is expected to drop, the amount for every crop would be much smaller compared to the previous assumed amount and the “resulting rise in world food prices could be mitigated by improvements in the land and other benefits, the study found.”

“A similar conversion to organic farming in sub-Saharan Africa could help the region’s hungry because it could reduce their need to import food… Farmers who go back to traditional agricultural methods would not have to spend money on expensive chemicals and would grow more diverse and sustainable crops, the report said.

In addition, if their food is certified as organic, farmers could export any surpluses at premium prices,” Winfield also quoted Niels Halberg, the senior scientist of the Danish Research Center for Organic Food and Farming as telling the UN conference.

Winfield also reported that the report of the Danish team has impressed the UN officials particularly Alexander Mueller, assistant director-general of the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, who recognized the benefits of shifting to organic farming considering the looming effects of climate change worldwide.

According to the United Nations, organic agriculture is a holistic food system that veers away from the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, minimizes pollution and optimizes the health of plants, animals and people. (Jeff Tupaz)


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