Organic farming could help world hunger, improve environment

In early May, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held an international conference Organic Agriculture and Food Security at its headquarters in Rome, Italy. The conference was organized in partnership with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Researchers told the FAO conference that a global shift to organic farming could help fight world hunger, while improving the environment.

According to the paper, Organic Agriculture and Food Security, which the FAO published in connection with this conference, “The strongest feature of Organic Agriculture is its reliance on fossil-fuel independent and locally-available production assets; working with natural processes increases cost-effectiveness and resilience of agro-ecosystems to climatic stress.” The paper calls on governments to “allocate resources for organic agriculture and to integrate its objectives and actions within their national agricultural development and poverty reduction strategies, with particular emphasis on the needs of vulnerable groups.”

Niels Halberg, a senior scientist at the Danish Research Center for Organic Food and Farming told the conference that a conversion to organic farming in sub-Saharan Africa could help the region’s hungry because it could reduce their reliance on food imports.

Alexander Mueller, FAO assistant director-general, said that a shift to organic agriculture could be beneficial to help the world’s poorest people who may be impacted by the negative effects of climate change.

Nadia El-Hage Scialabba, an FAO official who organized the conference, discussed a University of Michigan study that found that a global shift to organic agriculture would yield at least 2,641 kilocalories per person per day, just under the world's current production of 2,786, and as many as 4,381 kilocalories per person per day, researchers reported.

(Source: Associated Press)