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Organic agriculture addressing climate change and food security

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and IFOAM EU Group have produced three publications making the argument that organic agriculture has a significant role to play in addressing two of the world’s biggest and most urgent issues: climate change and food security.

According to the reports, organic agriculture has well-established practices that simultaneously mitigate climate change, build resilient farming systems, reduce poverty and improve food security. Organic agriculture emits much lower levels of greenhouse gases, and quickly, affordably and effectively sequesters carbon in the soil. In addition, organic agriculture makes farms and people more resilient to climate change, mainly due to its water efficiency, resilience to extreme weather events and lower risk of complete crop failure.

The publications, ‘Organic Agriculture – A Guide to Climate Change and Food Security’, ‘The Contribution of Organic Agriculture to Climate Change Adaptation in Africa’ and ‘The Contribution of Organic Agriculture to Climate Change Mitigation’ are available at http://www.ifoam.org/partners/advocacy/CC_Campaign.html

With best wishes,

Lim Li Ching
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
Malaysia
Email: twnet@po.jaring.my
Websites: www.twnside.org.sg, www.biosafety-info.net

Extracted from: http://www.ifoam.org/partners/advocacy/CC_Campaign.html

High Sequestration, Low Emission, Food Secure Farming

Organic Agriculture mitigates climate change:

It reduces greenhouse gases, especially nitrous oxide, as no chemical nitrogen fertilizers are used and nutrient losses are minimized.

It stores carbon in soil and plant biomass by building organic matter, encouraging agro-forestry and forbidding the clearance of primary ecosystems.

It minimizes energy consumption by 30-70% per unit of land by eliminating the energy required to manufacture synthetic fertilizers, and by using internal farm inputs, thus reducing fuel used for transportation.

Organic Agriculture helps farmers adapt to climate change:

It prevents nutrient and water loss through high organic matter content and soil covers, thus making soils more resilient to floods, droughts and land degradation processes.

It preserves seed and crop diversity which increases crop resistance to pests and disease. Maintenance of diversity also helps farmers evolve new cropping systems to adapt to climatic changes.

It minimizes risk as a result of stable agro-ecosystems and yields, and lower production costs.

Conventional agriculture contributes to climate change:

It uses synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that require significant amounts of energy to manufacture 

It applies excessive amounts of nitrogen fertilizer that is released as nitrous oxide 

It operates intensive livestock holdings that overproduce manure and methane

It relies on external, soy-based animal feed that requires large amounts of fuel to travel thousands of kilometers to reach the farm

It mines the earth of the nutrients needed to sustain production thereby leading to the clearing of rainforest and “slash and burn” techniques that reduce carbon storage and release huge amounts of carbon dioxide from burning vegetation.

 


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