can organic agriculture feed the world

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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.May 14, 2019

What is bad about organic farming?

 · their paper suggests that organic agriculture based on biological fixation of nitrogen is capable of meeting global food demands without reliance on industrial synthesis of …

How does organic farming benefit the environment?

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 …

How sustainable farming can be better than organic agriculture?

 · In this article, Chris discusses whether small, organic farms can feed the world, and, of course, he concludes that they can. We think that this is very important. Not only can …

What are the disadvantages of organic farming?

Latest research in Nature: 100% organic is possible, but 50% might be better. In 2017 a research paper “Strategies for feeding the world more sustainably with organic agriculture”, was …

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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 feed the countries like India?

No, unfortunately this is just not feasible as has been demonstrated in real life and with numerous models. However, Integrated Pest and Crop Management can. Particularly if more research is put into the use of beneficial microbes for a myriad of purposes and roles.

Can organic agriculture 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.

Does organic farming produce less food?

Since it does not use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, organic agriculture has a 25 percent lower crop yield compared to conventional farming.

Why is organic agriculture bad?

Organic crops may have to contend with more weeds and pests than conventional crops, so they may produce more natural toxins to ward the weeds off, as potatoes do with a chemical called solanine. Additionally, the use of manure fertilisers may increase the risk of contamination by microbes such as E. coli.

Why is organic food bad for the environment?

Other recent research has also concluded that organic farming produces more climate pollution than conventional practices when the additional land required is taken into account.

What are the negatives of organic food?

List of Cons of Organic FoodEasily Goes Bad. Compared to non-organic food, organic produce has the possibility of going off a lot quicker. … More Expensive. … Minimal Chemicals Allowed. … No Health Benefits. … No Nutritional Proof. … Even Low-Level Pesticides Can be Harmful. … Pesticide Contamination. … High Bacterial Levels.

What is the main problem with organic farming?

One of the main problems of organic farming is that of timing. This does not concern all cases, but generally, organic produce and meats require efficient supply chains to reach the market quicker. The main difference between organic from conventional farming methods is using fewer chemicals throughout food production.

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.

Who is the father of organic farming?

J.I Rodale, founder of the Rodale Research Institute and Organic Farming and Gardening magazine, is commonly regarded as the father of the modern organic farming movement.

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What are the production issues with organic corn?

Production issues for organic corn fall somewhere between those for alfalfa and dry edible beans. Producers can access the highest yielding non-transgenic hybrids. In organic corn production, our limiting factor has not been nitrogen or other crop nutrients, even though total fertility costs are about 40% higher when compared to inorganic forms of fertilizers. Rather, soil insect pressure during stand establishment and the effective control of insects during the growing season have reduced organic corn yields to 80–85% of conventional. Overall, our cost per unit of production has been approximately 30% higher for organic compared to conventional corn.

When Eisenhower made the above observation in 1954, our nation was one to two generations removed from the realities of farming

When Eisenhower made the above observation in 1954, our nation was one to two generations removed from the realities of farming. In the intervening 53 years, certain segments of our society have come to idealize agriculture with a desire to connect to small-scale organic, family-operated farms and to demonize large-scale commercial farms. ‘Organic agriculture and the global food supply’ , by Badgley et al., exemplifies the perspective of some scientists in the academic world who favor organic practices without having a grounded knowledge of the economics and drivers of food production.

Is organic farming better than transgenic farming?

The final fallacy in the Badgley et al. article is the insinuation that organic farming is an advanced method of crop production that always leads to better soil tilth, less erosion and superior nutrition. In our experience, organic corn requires soil tillage prior to planting and cultivation during the growing season to control emerging seedling weeds. These operations destroy organic matter, reduce the water-holding capacity of our light sands and increase soil susceptibility to wind erosion. In contrast, our transgenic corn is planted into winter cover crops which are killed with herbicides after planting. Later, developing weeds are controlled with additional herbicides instead of mechanical cultivation. These conventional farming practices allow us to maintain a protective residue cover on the soil surface and increase soil organic matter inputs.

Is it unreasonable to believe that agriculture will return to hand labor?

Throughout history, farm producers have sought productivity gains by substituting animal for human labor, designing and employing simple machines and, most recently, using information technology, remote monitoring and sophisticated machinery. It is unreasonable to believe that agriculture will return to hand labor to reduce unemployment or underemployment.

Will we produce 60% more food by 2050?

Given the need to produce 60% more food by 2050 to meet demand from growth in both population and income, and to do so with less land and water for irrigation, there is an urgent need for a process of ‘ecological intensification’ of crop production systems. Reference Cassman. 7.

What is the release of nitrogen in manure?

In fact, only a portion of the applied nutrients contained in manure are released during the growing season in which the manure was applied.

Is yield similar in organic and conventional crops?

While yield of the same crop species grown in organic and conventional systems may be similar, total food output of the cropping system may differ depending on the rotation. Further specification of human edible calorie and/or protein yield per unit area-time is also helpful. 3.

What is the biggest threat to global harvests?

The same goes for diseases. Currently the biggest threat to global harvests is probably wheat rust, a devastating fungal disease of wheat. Rust is now controlled by the application of fungicides. Without these chemicals huge outbreaks of rust would likely occur, and the spores would travel great distances on the winds, quickly affecting harvests globally.

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, …

Can organic seeds be used for gene editing?

Organic organizations have unfortunately also come out against new gene editing techniques, although bizarre organic standards allow the use of seeds developed using the much blunter instruments of radiation or chemical mutagenesis.

Do GMOs reduce pesticides?

GMOs have therefore likely already done far more to reduce pesticide use than organic farming while not having the drawback of lower yields although I’m not aware of anyone having published an explicit comparison.

Can organic farmers use pesticides?

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.

Does synthetic pesticides have a halo effect?

To my knowledge, none of the published studies account for the halo effect of existing synthetic pesticide use, which helps protect neighboring organic farms from severe pest outbreaks by area-wide suppression of pest populations. The same goes for diseases.

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 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.

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.

How much N is fixed annually by cover crop legumes?

Whatever the rights or wrongs of that point, I’m going to take a different tack and consider some figures that Connor presents 3. He says that 21 Mega tonnes (Mt) of N are fixed annually by cover crop legumes, with the total amount of BNF estimated between 33-46Mt. This contrasts with 113Mt of SNF, giving the measure of the challenge – apparently a major shortfall in the possibility of feeding the world organically.

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.

How much SNF is used for livestock?

Rough calculations for the UK suggest that we use about 30% of our SN on pastures. I suspect the figure is much lower in most other countries. I’ll arbitrarily assume that it amounts to 3% globally – further information welcome. This would take total SNF down to 73 Mt.

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 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.

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 people are farming sustainably?

Professor Jules Pretty, director of the Centre for Environment and Society at the University of Essex, wrote, “Recent evidence from 20 countries has found more than 2 million families farming sustainably on more than 4-5 million hectares. This is no longer marginal. It cannot be ignored. What is remarkable is not so much the numbers, but that most of this has happened in the past 5-10 years. Moreover, many of the improvements are occurring in remote and resource-poor areas that had been assumed to be incapable of producing food surpluses.”

How does low tech agriculture help the world?

An editorial in New Scientist for February 3, 2001, stated that low-tech, sustainable agriculture is increasing crop yields on poor farms across the world, often by 70 percent or more. This has been achieved by replacing synthetic chemicals with natural pest control and natural fertilizers.

Why is the push for genetically modified organisms justified?

Thus, the push for genetically modified organisms, growth hormones, animal- feed antibiotics, food irradiation and toxic synthetic chemicals is being justified, in part, by the rationale that without these products the world will not be able to feed itself.

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.

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. Therefore, I think we can drop it from our modelling. We need to design a renewable food system that can feed the global population adequately, fitting livestock into it where we can, rather than designing livestock systems to meet the demand for meat which compromise food access and renewability.

How much N is fixed annually by cover crop legumes?

Whatever the rights or wrongs of that point, I’m going to take a different tack and consider some figures that Connor presents 3. He says that 21 Mega tonnes (Mt) of N are fixed annually by cover crop legumes, with the total amount of BNF estimated between 33-46Mt. This contrasts with 113Mt of SNF, giving the measure of the challenge – apparently a major shortfall in the possibility of feeding the world organically.

How much SNF is used for livestock?

Rough calculations for the UK suggest that we use about 30% of our SN on pastures. I suspect the figure is much lower in most other countries. I’ll arbitrarily assume that it amounts to 3% globally – further information welcome. This would take total SNF down to 73 Mt.

How can organic farming help the environment?

Organic agriculture can restore soils and ecosystems that have been degraded by conventional farming. The monocultures of the chemical-industrial approach do a lot of damage to ecosystems and to the climate. These monocultures depend on a finite reserve of fossil fuel and bring large risks for food security with them. In the long run it is clear that natural resources must be maintained in order to feed the world. This means that we need conservation agriculture with closed nutrient cycles, and organic farming techniques. Apart from food security there are advantages such as better health for farmers, better water storage in the soil, less damage to the climate, more biodiversity and food soevereignty of nations and peoples.

What is the difference between organic and conventional agriculture?

In Western countries, the yield of organic agriculture is less than conventional yield. Compared to subsistence agriculture in third world countries however, organic production has much higher yields. Our goal should not be to reach the highest level of production at any cost for future generations, but to reach sufficient production in a way that can be sustained. In 2007, scientist C. Badgley of Michigan University published the following results of modelling production per acre:

Is organic farming profitable?

A 2009 FAO report states clearly that organic agriculture, in spite of lower production per surface area, is still more profitable than conventional production. This is the result of a literature review covering 50 studies. Organic farming requires more knowledge and labour, but less expensive inputs. This fits well with the situation in poor socities, where there is usually a lot of labour available, but a shortage of material means. Organic techniques are therefore a perfect match with selfsustaining agriculture. Studies by Brasilian professor Irene Cardoso show that Brasilian coffee farmers experienced a significant increase in prosperity when they changed from conventional to agro-ecological methods. There coffee production dropped a bit, but in return their costs dropped much more, and their income from secondary producs increased. Apart from a healthier and more pleasant lifestyle this also lead to a higher income.

Is hunger a matter of production?

Many people emphasize that hunger in the world is not a matter of production, but of bad distribution and food waste. In 2006 the United Nations stated, by word of special rapporteur Jean Ziegler, that the world was producing enough at that particular moment to feed 12 billion people. According to FAO estimates, 30% of all food that is produced, is wasted. Also, a huge part of agricultural production is used inefficiently for fuel and cattle feed. Since the beginning of industrial farming food production has increased tremendously, but hunger in the world has kept pace. At this moment 1 billion people are suffering from hunger, while 1 billion people are overweight. A lot of famine occurs in countries that have badly neglected their domestic agricultural policy for decades, under pressure of international neoliberal politics. Hunger in the world is, in the first place, an economical and political matter.

Why is organic farming important?

Organic farming started as a movement to counter the many environmental problems we face today. After World War 2, the way we farm drastically changed. And, unfortunately, often not for the better. Conventional farming resulted in many environmental disasters. In the long run, it’s not a sustainable system.

How does agriculture affect the environment?

Modern agriculture is unfortunately highly dependent on non-renewable energy sources. And by using various chemicals it disturbs the natural balance of the environment. The condition of the soil, for example, is very alarming. Through soil erosion, we lose about 24 billion tons of fertile soil annually in the world. This further accelerates global warming, not to mention that without fertile soil it is impossible to produce food at all.

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.

Can organic farming produce enough food?

Organic farming can produce more than enough food to feed the entire population. What we need to do now is to tackle our unsustainable, unjust Western diet, where the US citizen eats 30 times more meat on average than the Ethiopian.

How much of the world’s food is wasted?

Another terrible truth confirming that we already produce far more than enough food – and could do so in the future – is food waste. Globally, between 25% and 50% of all food produced is wasted (for different reasons both in developed and developing countries!). Pointing to the lower productivity of organic farming is like laughing in the face of this worldwide food waste scandal.

Who are the hungriest people in the world?

Ironically, the hungriest people are mostly smallholder farmers, who are responsible for feeding the majority of the world’s population. (1) The problem is not lack of food, but social inequality.

What is the greatest potential to improve the state of our planet?

Conversely, this means that farming and food have the greatest potential to improve the state of our planet! The way in which we will grow our food will largely determine the fate of our planet.

What is the difference between organic and conventional agriculture?

In particular, organic agriculture delivers just 5 percent less yield in rain-watered legume crops, such as alfalfa or beans, and in perennial crops, such as fruit trees. But when it comes to major cereal crops, such as corn or wheat, and vegetables, such as broccoli, conventional methods delivered more than 25 percent more yield.

How do organic farmers manage their ecosystem?

Organic farmers, on the other hand, must learn to manage an entire ecosystem geared to producing food—controlling pests through biological means, using the waste from animals to fertilize fields and even growing one crop amidst another. “Organic farming is a very knowledge-intensive farming system,” Seufert notes.

How many calories do we produce in agriculture?

Regardless, the world already produces 22 trillion calories annually via agriculture, enough to provide more than 3,000 calories to every person on the planet. The food problem is one of distribution and waste —whether the latter is food spoilage during harvest, in storage or even after purchase. According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, in the U.S. alone, 215 meals per person go to waste annually.

Why are crops genetically modified?

Crops genetically modified to endure drought may also play a role as well as efforts to develop perennial versions of annual staple crops, such as wheat, which could help reduce environmental impacts and improve soil.

Is organic yield better than conventional yield?

“We found that, overall, organic yields are considerably lower than conventional yields,” explains McGill’s Verena Seufert, lead author of the study to be published in Nature on April 26. ( Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) “But, this yield difference varies across different conditions. When farmers apply best management practices, organic systems, for example, perform relatively better.”

What percentage of the world’s grasslands are supplanted by agriculture?

As a result, in the world’s temperate climes human agriculture has supplanted 70 percent of grasslands, 50 percent of savannas and 45 percent of temperate forests.

Should farmers take a hybrid approach to producing enough food for humans while preserving the environment?

A new meta-analysis suggests farmers should take a hybrid approach to producing enough food for humans while preserving the environment. Food for hungry mouths, feed for animals headed to the slaughterhouse, fiber for clothing and even, in some cases, fuel for vehicles—all derive from global agriculture. As a result, in the world’s temperate climes …

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