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How organic agriculture contributes to sustainable development

Kilcher, Lukas (2007) How organic agriculture contributes to sustainable development. JARTS Witzenhausen, Supplement 89, 2007, pp. 31-49.

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Summary

Organic agriculture can contribute to meaningful socio-economic and ecologically sustainable development, especially in poorer countries. This is due on the one hand to the application of organic principles, which means efficient management of local resources (e.g. local seed varieties, manure, etc.) and therefore costeffectiveness. On the other hand, the market for organic products – at local and international level – has tremendous growth prospects and offers creative producers and exporters in the South excellent opportunities to improve their income and living conditions. Establishing whether organic agriculture is a viable alternative for a particular holding needs to be carried out on a case-by-case basis. What potential does organic agriculture have for solving the problems of hunger and poverty? What can organic agriculture contribute to achieving socially and ecologically sustainable development in poor countries? Central to organic agriculture are promotion of soil fertility, biodiversity conservation (e.g. native flora and fauna), production methods adapted to the locality and avoidance of chemical inputs. These methods, together with cultivation of a diverse range of crops, stabilize the delicate ecosystems in the tropics and reduce drought sensitivity and pest infestation. Organic agriculture reduces the risk of yield failure, stabilizes returns and improves the quality of life of small farmers’ families. To date, no systematic attempt has been made to evaluate the benefits and effects of each system. In 2006, FiBL therefore launched a network of long-term system comparisons in the tropics that aims at examining the contribution of organic agriculture to food security, poverty alleviation and environmental conservation.
The article presents this discussion based on experience gained in practice and
encompasses the following hypotheses:
1. Organic agriculture is sustainable and diverse;
2. Organic farmers conserve resources;
3. Organic farmers produce more, better-quality products and achieve higher incomes;
4. Organic products provide market access and create added value;
5. Organic agriculture increases self-confidence and mobilizes new partnerships.


EPrint Type:Newspaper or magazine article
Keywords:Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Bildung, Beratung, Forschung, farming systems comparison in the tropics, organic agriculture in developing countries, sustainable development
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > International Cooperation
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/international/portraet.php
Deposited By: Kilcher, Lukas
ID Code:10680
Deposited On:30 Mar 2007
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:35
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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