Misconception Number 22: Organic Agriculture is just a marketing scam.
Summary of Counter-Arguments:
|- Organic claims are no marketing scam; they truly reflect the reality of organic production, guaranteed by organic certification systems.|
Details of Counter-Arguments:
In Europe, Organic Agriculture started from pioneer farmers, even before a market demand existed. For decades it remained a very marginal market niche and many organic farmers were newcomers in agriculture who produced both for their own consumption and for the market. The marketing strategy behind the sale of organic food was very basic and focused on providing explanations to consumers regarding the reality of organic production. The growth of the organic sector was primarily production driven. There was no real economic incentive provided by the market to drive producers into organic farming if they didnĺt truly believe in it. Today, market demand is strong and organic food has found an place in conventional retailers and supermarkets; therefore, becoming subject to conventional marketing strategies, but there remains a reality for organic production that is more important than any marketing message associated with the products. Organic certification is there to guarantee it.
Organic certification is a truly credible assurance system that enables consumers to identify those producers that produce in accordance with the principles of Organic Agriculture, which are health, ecology, fairness, and care. Certified organic products are those that have been produced, stored, processed, handled, and marketed in accordance with precise technical specifications (standards) and have been certified as "organic" by a certification body. Once a certification body has verified conformity with organic standards, the product can be labeled as organic. This label will differ depending on the certification body, but can be taken as an assurance that the essential elements constituting an "organic" product have been met from the farm to the market. It is important to note that an organic label applies to the production process, ensuring that the product has been produced and processed in an ecologically sound manner. Therefore, the organic label is a production process claim as opposed to a product quality claim.
Aside from the third party certification system, there are other guarantee systems that can provide equally trustworthy assurances about the organic status of the produce. For example, participatory guarantee systems provide a reliable organic guarantee for local, and sometimes distant, markets, with the involvement of farmers and consumers in the verification process.