New FIBL study: organic farming can contribute to the world food supply (IT)

16/11/2017
News

A worldwide conversion to organic farming can contribute to a comprehensive and sustainable food system, if combined with further measures. This was shown in a new study, led by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, which has recently been published in the renowned scientific journal "Nature Communications", a study carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO, the University of Aberdeen, the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt and the ETH Zurich.

Different scenarios show that the negative impacts of agriculture on the environment will drastically increase by 2050, should the projections of FAO be accurate. Their estimates suggest a population of over 9 billion people by 1950 and a change in dietary habits, such as increased meat consumption, using more resources such as water, energy and land.

The conversion to organic farming, which practices a more environmentally-friendly use of resources, is thus often suggested as a solution to counteract the negative developments. However, critics emphasize that this conversion would lead to higher land use and thus would not be a feasible alternative.

Several strategies are required to feed the world sustainably. The new study shows that organic farming can play an important role in a sustainable food system, in combination with reduced consumption of animal products, avoiding concentrated livestock feed and reduced food waste. The world’s food security would be ensured even with the 9 billion people, agricultural land area would not increase, greenhouse gas emissions would be lowered and the negative effects of today’s intensive food systems, such as nitrogen surplus and high pesticide exposure, would be greatly reduced. In contrast, the conversion to organic farming, should consumption patterns remain unchanged, would lead to increased land use change to agriculture.

The new study shows how to optimally combine these various strategies to deal with conflicts of goals. Even if 60 % of agriculture would convert to organic farming, concentrated feed were reduced by 50 % and food waste by 50 %, it would result in a food system with significantly decreased environmental impacts, including lower overall greenhouse gas emissions, and only a marginal increase in agricultural land area. The consumption of animal products would need to decrease by about a third because less feed would be available. Thus, sustainable agriculture is only possible when consumption patterns are changed – then, the possibilities are promising. Organic farming can play a key role in it.

 More details HERE

Source: FIBL