Nowadays, environmental conservation is at the forefront of global conversations and concerns. That’s why you’ve probably heard the term organic farming. In contrast to conventional agriculture, this farming technique advocates an organic production method to produce top-quality food using natural substances and processes. In this post, we explain in detail what organic farming is, and how it arose.
Organic farming: definition and examples
Also known as organic agriculture or biological agriculture, organic farming is an agricultural system aimed at obtaining products of the highest quality, respecting the environment and conserving the fertility of the land, by an optimal use of natural resources and organic farming methods. Below, we share some examples of this type of agriculture, that has become one of the bases for environment conservation:
- Crop rotation.
- Selection of disease-resistant plant and animal species adapted to local conditions.
- Limited use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers.
- Prohibition of the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- Use of organic fertilisers such as manure to contribute to soil fertility and plant health.
In summary, once we know what organic farming is, we understand that it employs methods that promote the efficient management of natural resources, eliminating the use of chemical products and genetically modified organisms in the fight against pests. For this reason, at Kaeltia we have developed a Regulatory Affairs service aimed at researching and developing natural products/organisms that control pests, and fertilisers and biostimulants that are compatible with organic farming, thus contributing to placing increasingly safer and environmentally responsible products on the market, all over the world.
What is agroecology and rural development?
Organic farming was born out of agroecology, a discipline that studies agriculture from an ecological and holistic perspective, implementing strategies and systems that are more respectful of the environment.
The pressure to reduce production costs in the food industry has led to an impoverishment of nature, people and products. In most cases, making food cheaper does not take into account the environmental and health costs, which are ultimately passed on to taxpayers. In this respect, modern or traditional agriculture often depletes natural resources, pollutes water, food and air, and destroys ecosystems.
Therefore, a transition to agroecological practices, such as organic farming, is more productive and resilient to climate change. Such practices co-evolve with nature and keep a harmony with the environment, shaping resources in a way that allows for their continuity. Agroecological farms not only produce food, but are also part of local communities, and also contribute to environment self-regulation and rural development.
Advantages of organic farming
Once it is clear what organic farming is, it is also important to understand its benefits. In this respect, the profitability of organic farming can sometimes raise questions due to its holistic approach that covers several aspects, from the management of natural resources, to the quality of the products and its contribution to sustainability. What is certain is that organic farming is a production system that can become a profitable activity as a whole, as it not only has a positive impact on nature, but also on the workers. Although its main benefit is its commitment to the environment, there are other major advantages of organic farming:
- Seeks to improve the living conditions of farmers.
- Protects the soil against erosion and degradation, thus increasing its fertility.
- Guarantees healthier, tastier and more nutritious food for the present and the future.
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating the effects of climate change and protecting biodiversity.
According to the European Commission (EC), around 8.5 % of the European Union’s (EU) agricultural area is dedicated to organic farming, a figure that could rise to 15-18 % by 2030. To boost it further, the EC has an Action Plan for the development of organic production, with which it hopes to raise this figure to 25%.
Organic farming: certifications and seals
As important as to understand organic farming, is to know everything related to certifications and seals. Organic certification guarantees that products have been grown or processed according to organic farming standards, and that the entire process of growing, processing, packaging and marketing is controlled. To achieve this, all organic operators are inspected at least once a year.
This control covers all stages: from the primary production of an organic product, to its storage, processing, transport, sale and supply to the consumer and – when appropriate – labelling, advertising, import, export and subcontracting activities. It should also be noted that the minimum period for converting a plot of land from conventional to organic farming is two years for annual crops, and three years for perennial crops.
As a distinguishing mark for the consumer, organic products must be marked with the EU logo and the code number of the inspection body to which the operator responsible for the organic product belongs, as well as its own brand name and the specific terms of organic production.
The bridge to organic farming
We have already seen that organic farming is a production alternative that can benefit everyone in the long run. Not only that, but more and more consumers are demanding such products in a critical way, checking and verifying the reliability of the labels when they buy them.
If you are a manufacturer, it is very important that you know what is behind each of these labels, which ones are applicable to your production and your crops, and what demands each country in which you are going to market them. If you need help to find out and obtain these certifications, Kaeltia can help you.
Let’s learn more about organic farming, and explore all it has to offer, both for the consumer and the manufacturer… and, for sure, for the environment.