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Could Organic Farming Feed the World?

Organic farming can play an important role in a sustainable global food system,that’s according to new research from Professor Pete Smith from the University of Aberdeen  and led by  the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Switzerland.

There would also need to be a reduced consumption of animal product to  avoid concentrated livestock feed and to reduce food waste.

Professor Smith said:

“I have always questioned whether organic farming could be a viable large scale option, since organic yields tend to be lower, and I thought it is questionable whether organic farming could feed the world.

“The purpose of this study was to examine that question – are there circumstances under which organic farming could feed 9-10 billion people in 2050?

“We find that if consumption of animal products is reduced, if concentrate feeds are reduced for feeding the remaining livestock and if waste is reduced, organic farming could indeed feed the world.”

The research was a collaborative study between FiBL, the FAO, the University of Aberdeen, the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt and ETH Zurich, and was funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, Rome, Italy.

Prof Smith said:

“The key to this brighter future for farming is enabled by reduced consumption of meat and other livestock products and reducing waste – if we, as a society, can manage to do this, we can feed everyone on the planet with reduced environmental impact. That has to be a good thing.”

The study comes at a time when the EU has announced new Organic regulations. Once adopted, the new rules will enter into force on 1 January 2021.

The new organic Regulation will apply to the live and unprocessed agricultural products, including seeds and other plant reproductive material and processed agricultural products used as food and feed.

The single set of rules has also been extended to cover a range of new products such as salt, cork and essential oils.

organic farming in the EU

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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