Organic Agriculture and Food Security

While affluent regions and social classes struggle with surplus production and surplus consumption, close to one fifth of the global population lives in constant under-nourishment. Subsistence production of basic foods is restricted in many regions by lack of access to capital, land and water. At the same time, more favoured growing areas are used for commercial production of speciality crops or animal feeds for export to affluent regions. The major constraints to food security are found in social, economic and political conditions rather than in production methods themselves. The main solutions to food security problems will therefore be found in social, economic and political improvement. Nevertheless, demand for food will increase in the future so there are reasons why production issues and the relevance of organic agriculture need to be addressed:

  • The main strategy for increasing both food production and access to food is through increased production by farmers in developing countries.
  • Conventional agriculture may give short-term gains in production, but in most cases it is not sustainable in the long term, nor does it guarantee safe food.
  • In particular, conventional production methods are inadequate for disadvantaged farming communities and are thus not a suitable solution for many of those who face food shortage.
  • Organic production has the potential to produce sufficient food of a high quality. In addition organic agriculture is particularly well suited for those rural communities that are currently most exposed to food shortages.

Organic Agriculture contributes to food security by a combination of many features, most notably by:

  • Increasing yields in low-input areas
  • Conserving biodiversity and nature resources on the farm and in the surrounding area
  • Increasing income and/or reducing costs
  • Producing safe and varied food
  • Being sustainable in the long term

Organic Agriculture should be an integral part of any agricultural policy aiming for food security.