Is Organic Farming ‘Mainstream Agriculture In Waiting’?
Organic farming has huge potential. Not only does it have many benefits over conventional farming practices, but that with adjustments organic farming could yield as much produce. By Angela Singleton An independent report suggesting that organic farming has huge potential and could even be ‘mainstream agriculture in waiting’ has been welcomed by the Soil Association, the UK’s leading environmental charity campaigning for sustainable, organic farming and healthy food. Peter Melchett, policy director for the Soil Association, said: “Organic farming does not have all the answers to the challenges of climate change and diet-related ill-health and there is still a lot of work to do to improve organic systems. But the report shows the positive impact that organic farming could have.” The key findings include increased beef production by 68 per cent and lamb by 55 per cent; a fall in energy-intensive inputs: fertiliser inputs could be cut by 95 per cent and sprays by 98 per cent; and an estimated 73 per cent increase in farm employment. The survey also argues that organic farming has many benefits over conventional farming practices – water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions would reduce, spray use would be cut by 98 per cent and fertilisers by 95 per cent. With adjustments, organic farming could yield as much produce as conventional farming. The report – England and Wales under organic agriculture: how much food could be produced? – shows the positive impact that such farming could have. It was carried out by Philip Jones and Richard Crane at the University of Reading, and was funded by independent trust the HCD Memorial Fund, and the Soil Association. While the survey acknowledges that organic farming aims to be an optimal output system rather than a high output system, it suggests that, as consumers, we need to consider […]