mercoledì 2 luglio 2008

Think Organic

Once again, I have read a new in Internet, anticipated by the usual misleading title, according to which agriculture and livestock productions are luxury goods also in consideration of the present international agrofood crisis. This new is accompanied by the information, not supported by any data, about the lower production level of organic agriculture compared to the conventional “industrial” one: hence in order to achieve the same production quantity, it should be necessary to cultivate more lands. In this way a doubt about the role of organic agriculture in increasing prices and in over exploiting soils, is injected among consumers. Organic agriculture is a method directed to produce food without chemical residues. It is important to repeat that organic agriculture is the only really eco-compatible form of agriculture: its role and functions are acknowledged in the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius and by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) and by the EU normative system. For its characteristics, organic agriculture represents a critical tool to increase food and environment quality contributing to improve quality of life of individuals and the society as a whole. In these recent years, organic agriculture focused great attention in public opinion also as effective method again agrofood hazards (“mad cow” disease, SARS, etc.): for this reason for many consumers, organic agriculture is considered to produce safe and healthy food transforming a niche sector into a substantial activity for agriculture. An organic approach also in livestock production implies the adoption of organic food to breed animals. The production management is focused in animal welfare in order to grant to animals good health conditions reducing the use of chemicals medicines. Organic livestock production has a relevant role within an organic farm because:

  • Completes the ecological cycle;
  • Provides concimes and organic substances to be used in organic agriculture;
  • Produces high quality meat, milk and diary products;
  • Requires forages areas impeding to strict cultivation rotations thus improving soil fertility.

For these reasons, organic agriculture should be fully included in decision making processes related to the local and global development dynamics with a complete integration with other rural sectors thus acting as a critical dynamo for rural development. Ascribing to organic agriculture also the doubt of a partial responsibility in food prices’ increases is misleading as well; these increases, not caused by weather or by increase in commodities prices due to production contractions, depend essentially on speculative pushes in financial markets and in intermediate phases of the agrofood chains. At the end, operators in highly speculative and non productive sectors (who obtain high gains exploiting the others’ work) use any occasion to provoke price increases damaging both producers and consumers above all in more economically vulnerable countries. It’s a complete naïve idea believing that the present agrofood crisis is caused by production factors; the core issue of the problem is essentially political because for a too long time politics is renouncing to do its job defending public interests becoming on the contrary completely passive towards manoeuvres and pressures from financial world. Also in politics it should be urgently necessary to think organic.

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