Thursday, October 11, 2007

UN backs organic farming

The organic food movement has received endorsement from the United Nations leading agency on food and agriculture, the FAO. In a new report, it says that organic farming fights hunger, tackles climate change, and is good for farmers, consumers and the environment.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has come out in favour of organic agriculture. Its report Organic Agriculture and Food Security explicitly states that organic agriculture can address local and global food security challenges.

Nadia Scialabba, an FAO official, defined organic agriculture as: "A holistic production management system that avoids the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, and genetically modified organisms, minimises pollution of air, soil and water, and optimises the health and productivity of plants, animals and people."

The strongest benefits of organic agriculture, Scialabba said, are its reliance on fossil fuel independent, locally available resources that incur minimal agro-ecological stresses and are cost effective. She described organic agriculture as a 'neo-traditional food system' which combines modern science and indigenous knowledge.'

The FAO report strongly suggests that a worldwide shift to organic agriculture can fight world hunger and at the same time tackle climate change. According to FAO's previous World Food Summit report], conventional agriculture, together with deforestation and rangeland burning, are responsible for 30 per cent of the CO2 and 90 per cent of nitrous oxide emissions worldwide.

FAO Organic Agriculture Programme

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