Organic Agriculture: An Increasing Global Trend


| 6/8/2011 12:00:01 PM


Tags: organic agriculture, organic farming, Worldwatch Institute,

© Florin Capilnean - Global Apple 2Organic agriculture is increasing globally despite the economic slowdown according to a report from the Worldwatch Institute.

Many of you are small-scale organic growers, and according to a report from the Worldwatch Institute, your fields hold much promise. Despite the economic downturn, organic agriculture steadily increases around the world. And even though the global organic market faces problems such as high prices or the lack of organic standards, these problems are temporary and organic farming provides a lasting solution for protecting the environment.

Washington, D.C. - Despite the crippling effects of the recent economic slowdown on many industries, the organic agriculture sector not only sustained itself during this period but also showed signs of growth. “In 2009, organic farming was practiced on 37.2 million hectares worldwide, a 5.7 percent increase from 2008 and 150 percent increase since 2000,” writes policy analyst E.L. Beck, in the latest Vital Signs Online release from the Worldwatch Institute.

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) defines organic agriculture as: “a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment.”

Although organic agriculture is practiced around the world, certified organic agriculture tends to be concentrated in wealthier countries. The Group of 20 (G20), comprising both developing and industrialized countries, is home to 89 percent of the global certified organic agricultural area. But nongovernmental organizations, including Slow Food International and ACDI/VOCA, are working with farmers to promote organic agriculture in developing countries as a means of bettering livelihoods and rejuvenating the land.

In western Tanzania, organic agroforestry practices have helped rehabilitate some 350,000 hectares of desert land over the span of two decades. And in Ethiopia, coffee farmers are learning how to protect wild coffee plants, fertilize them using organic compost, and process them in a manner that retains the quality of the crop, without damaging the environment.




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