Going organic

Posted: 14 December 2007

Concern about food safety and the damage caused by the use of agrochemicals has led to a dramatic increase in the amount of land devoted to organic farming.

  • The basic rules of organic production are that natural inputs are approved and synthetic inputs are prohibited, althouth there are exceptions in both cases. Soil-building crop rotations are also essential to organic production, with management techniques such as intercropping, double-digging, mulching and integration of crops and livestock playing a vital part.

Organic farmer, India
Organic farmer, India
Organic farmer in India ploughing green manure into his fields. Photo © Organic India
  • Compost, which is cheap and locally available, is an important element of organic farming. It restores soil structure, improves water retention, and enhances high yield over time because it has a wide range of nutrients.

  • Organic agriculture is now practised in almost all countries of the world, and its share of agricultural land and farms is continually growing. The total land surface that is managed organically is currently more than 26 million hectares worldwide.

  • The market for organic products is valued at $28 billion, and includes a full spectrum of agricultural products. Europe and North America are the leading markets, but countries all over the world are exhibiting substantial growth, according to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).