Organic farming - some facts
Food and farming need re-thinking, according to Dennis Sciberras from the Organic Farming Unit within the Ministry for Rural Affairs.
A growing world population is facing climate change, progressive loss of biodiversity, depletion of natural resources and the destruction of ecosystems whose services mankind needs for survival.
The current thinking on agricultural production does not effectively address food and environmental crises; as evidence of this, the increasing area of degraded soils and agriculture’s oil-dependency have recently been highlighted as deeply problematic in the report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).
The report advocates nothing less than a fundamental re-think of the food system as the only way to achieve sustainable food security worldwide. This re-think can be guided by the organic sector.
Organic production deals with the environmental, social and economic challenges of agriculture and multiple studies have proven its beneficial effects, environmental and socio-economic.
Organic farming is a knowledge-intensive production system, which has gathered a vast pool of agronomic resources which incorporate both traditional knowledge and cutting-edge technologies.
It is by now the only system of sustainable agriculture with Europe-wide standards and certification as established by EU Regulation (EC) 834/2007 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 834/2007 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Further, organic producers are innovative and have pioneered new approaches to organising producer, industry and consumer interrelationships in improved business models.
Society, food and farming industries at large and policy makers can therefore all profit from the rich experience of the organic sector.
The organic product
Organic standards aim to incorporate human, environmental and animal health considerations into food production and processing. The systems are holistic, focusing not only on how to achieve the desired product qualities, but also on the methods and processes by which it is done.
Organic consumers don’t have to worry about a number of things, including pesticide, nitrate and antibiotic residues, hormone residuals and mycotoxins. This attention to nurturing environmental health seems to pay off in terms of nutritional value.
The nutritional advantages include higher secondary metabolite content in plants, including vitamin C, B-group vitamins and flavonoids; higher content of minerals including iron, magnesium and phosphorous.
Higher content of fat-soluble vitamins and polyunsaturated fatty acids in organic milk and meat, and overall better taste! Organic products have won out over conventional ones in a large number of sensory tests.
Organic products are also regulated by rigorous processing standards which ban irradiation, colouring agents, synthetic sweeteners, synthetic flavouring, GMOs, GMO derivatives and trans fatty acids, among other things, in order to maximise nutritional and sensory integrity of ingredients and minimise resource wastage.
Source: newsroom - farmingnewsdaily.co.uk