Can organic agriculture feed the world cambridge


Organic agriculture practices are often blamed for being unsustainable and not able to feed the world. In fact, several high-profile advocates of conventional agricultural production have stated that the world would starve if we all converted to organic agriculture.


Can organic agriculture feed the world?

Organic agriculture practices are often blamed for being unsustainable and not able to feed the world. In fact, several high-profile advocates of conventional agricultural production have stated that the world would starve if we all converted to organic agriculture.

Is organic food up to the challenge of the future?

With the global population set to hit 9.1 billion by 2050 1, it’s true that in the future we’ll need to grow more food than ever. But there’s a common misconception that organic isn’t up to the task. This week, we’ll take a look at: why the question of yields may be the wrong question; why so much of the current research on organic yields is wrong;

Can We Feed the world with large-scale grain production?

The majority of that harvest becomes animal feed, high fructose corn syrup, and ethanol. While such large-scale grain production plays a role in the global food and biofuel supply—and isn’t going away—boosting yields of these crops isn’t going to feed the world.

Can organic food prevent a global food shortage?

Organic farmers can use non-synthetic pesticides such as copper and sulphur-based compounds (which can, in fact, be more toxic than their synthetic alternatives, though that’s a different story), but these products would struggle to prevent worldwide food shortages.


Can organic agriculture be able to feed the world?

The truth is that yes, organic can feed the world! Organic can compete with conventional yields and outperform conventional in adverse weather. Small farmers using organic methods have huge potential to expand global food production.

Why can’t organic farmers feed the world?

This nitrogen is ultimately derived from artificial fertilizers used to grow crops to feed the animals on conventional farms. In a worldwide organic scenario envisioned by the researchers, this would not be possible, so the nitrogen scarcity would be critical. This would lead to worldwide famine.

Can organic agriculture sustainably feed the world in 2050?

There is no clear-cut answer. Adrian Müller, senior researcher at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), and his co-authors show that a 100% conversion to organic agriculture reduces nitrogen surplus and pesticide use but needs more land than conventional agriculture because it has lower yields.

Is organic farming better for the planet?

Organic farming is better for environmental health Organic farming is better for the environment because its practices involve less pollution soil erosion, and energy. Eliminating the use of pesticides in farming also benefits nearby birds and animals and people who live close to farms.

Can organic farming produce enough food for all?

Despite farmers currently producing more than enough to feed the entire population, some 800 million people still go hungry. Total organic could exacerbate that problem. … Current animal supply feeds around 800 million, but under total organic agriculture, animal supply would feed 900 million people.

Will organic agriculture will save hunger?

By increasing returns on the labor farmers invest in their farms – and reducing the cost of inputs – organic agriculture can help to battle poverty. Building on local management skills and resources and enabling local communities of farmers, fisherfolk and pastoralists to be food self-sufficient and combat poverty.

Can organic farming replace modern agriculture?

Answer is Yes. The Organic way of Agriculture does yield good results than the advanced agriculture, in which we use chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides.

Do you think organic agriculture will sustain the food demand of growing population?

No, only organic agriculture alone can not sustain the food demand of growing population. Whether we like it or not, organic, or something similar, will eventually become the prime method of food production.

Is organic farming the future of agriculture debate?

Now, an unnecessary debate is on. Those who have been recommending / promoting chemicals in farming continue to think that only chemicals are the way to handle pests and diseases and improve soil fertility. Even Governments have moved away from this thinking, and are promoting organic or natural farming.

Is organic worse for the environment?

Luckily for you, you can deliver a comeuppance for their snobbery the next time you see them because a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that organic farming is actually worse for the environment than conventional farming methods because it is less efficient.

Does organic farming help the environment?

Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high quantities of fossil fuel to be produced). Organic agriculture contributes to mitigating the greenhouse effect and global warming through its ability to sequester carbon in the soil.

What are disadvantages of organic farming?

The disadvantages of organic farming are it is labor-intensive, sensitive to economic decline, requires more planning, and can’t benefit from synthetic chemicals. The advantages are that it is less susceptible to natural and financial risks, more efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.

Why are organic farmers important?

By abstaining from most toxic synthetic inputs, organic farmers protect the environment and prioritize soil health, wildlife habitat, clean and air water, and nutrient-dense foods. Their emphasis is typically less on maximizing crop yields and more on creating healthy, resilient ecosystems.

How can small farmers help the world?

There is huge potential in small farmers in the developing world for increasing food production and global food security by growing diverse and nutrient-dense foods. 40% of the world’s current crop production comes from these small farmers, and they are poised to make a big difference. 10

What do we need to feed the world?

To truly feed the world, we’re going to need more foods that provide complete nutrition and more farmers to grow it. Currently, our food system overproduces grains, fats, and sugars and underproduces the vitamins, minerals, and proteins vital for human health.

How does a small scale farmer help the ecosystem?

The small-scale farmer is also nearly guaranteed to grow and raise diverse crops and livestock, enhancing biodiversity, a crucial marker of healthy ecosystems.

Can organic food feed the world?

The truth is that yes, organic can feed the world! Organic can compete with conventional yields and outperform conventional in adverse weather. Small farmers using organic methods have huge potential to expand global food production.

Can we feed the world organically?

The truth is that yes, organic can feed the world!

Is agriculture going in the wrong direction?

In contrast, agriculture’s environmental performance is going in the wrong direction: Aggregate impacts are increasing and must drop sharply over the coming decades.” 5. Yes, we need to produce more food. But more importantly, we need to mitigate farming’s harmful effects on the environment—fast.

How much of the world’s cropland is devoted to livestock?

Let’s now look at livestock. According to the FAO, 33% of global cropland is devoted to producing livestock fodder. This is a choice that humans make – in fact, that primarily rich humans make – and I’d suggest not a wise one in view of the energy and other squeezes we face.

What is the objection to organic farming based on BNF?

The main objection to the possibility of ‘feeding the world’ through organic agriculture based on BNF is that it’s typically lower yielding than SNF-based agriculture.

When was Small Farm Future published?

By Chris Smaje, originally published by Small Farm Future. March 25, 2021. I discuss various aspects of so-called ‘alternative’ agriculture at some length in Chapter 6 of A Small Farm Future1, and I don’t intend to retrace many of those steps here. But there’s a couple of further things I do want to say in this blog cycle.

Can organic farming feed the world?

Organic farming can feed the world — until you read the small print. Picking organic basil. Photo by Organic Farming Research Assocation. A Europe-based research team made headlines last week with its conclusion that organic farming can feed the world after all. However, few people took the time to read the small print in their paper, …

Do organic farms have halo effect?

Organic farms benefit from ‘halo effect’ in controlling pests. Photo by Genetic Literacy Project. A similar challenge applies for synthetic pesticides, which are noisily avoided in organic farming. To my knowledge, none of the published studies account for the halo effect of existing synthetic pesticide use, which helps protect neighboring organic …

What are the organic farmers doing?

Several of the organic farmers are training many other farmers in the district and helping them to apply organic farming techniques to their farms. The mood of the community has changed. They are now confident and empowered with the knowledge that they can overcome the problems in their community.

Why is organic agriculture important?

Organic agriculture is a viable solution to preventing global hunger because: It can achieve high yields.

Why did organic farming produce the green revolution?

Since 1946, the advent of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, improved crop varieties and industrial paradigms are credited with producing the high yields of the “green revolution.”. Because organic agriculture avoids many of these new inputs, it is assumed that it always results in lower yields.

What is the study of apple production?

A study of apple production conducted by Washington State University compared the economic and environmental sustainability of conventional, organic and integrated growing systems in apple production. The organic system had equivalent yields to the other systems.

How many wetland rice farmers are there in the world?

A million wetland rice farmers in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam have shifted to sustainable agriculture, where group-based farmer field schools have enabled farmers to learn alternatives to pesticides and increase their yields by about 10 percent.

How much does maize increase yield?

Maize yields increased by four to nine times. The organically grown crops produced yields that were 60 percent higher than crops grown with expensive chemical fertilizers. The wonderful thing is that many of these farmers now have a surplus of food to sell, whereas previously they did not even have enough to eat.

How many farmers left the agriculture industry in 1997?

A 32 percent decrease in producers — between 1992 and 1997, the number of producers dropped from 170,000 to 116,000, meaning 54,000 farmers were forced to leave the industry. At least 50 percent of the acreage is now managed by corporate agriculture.

What is the matter of survival?

A matter of survival is not just producing enough food, but producing it in a way that conserves the environment for future generations. In order to truly feed the world, we need to feed it sustainably, or we won’t be able to eat (and survive) at all.

Is there enough food for everyone on Earth?

Critics of organic farming say that we cannot produce enough food for everyone on the planet with organic farming methods. They say that organic farming might lead to even more hunger and malnutrition than there already is. However, the truth is that there’s already more than enough food for everyone on the planet.


on The Rise

A Look at The Numbers

The Problem with Yields

Feeding The World with Organic

Challenges to Current Research

The Next Frontier: nutrient-density

Untapped Potential

Waste Not

The Bottom Line

  • Our growing population needs farming methods that conserve and regenerate resources while generating healthy food—not methods that use more chemicals, polluting the environment in order to grow more corn to feed more feedlot animals. The truth is that yes, organic can feed the world! Organic can compete with conventional yields and outperform conve…

See more on

Leave a Comment