|| This year’s theme for World Food Day ‘World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy’ points rightly to man-made crises and global imbalances caused disproportionately by the industrial North but affecting mostly people from the Global South and accelerating food insecurity in these regions.
“The problems around climate change and agrofuels are expressions of a much bigger issue - natural resource problems”, noted Katherine DiMatteo, President of IFOAM. “Humanity has, for years, over-exploited the earth’s carrying capacity. Clean water, a stable climate, resilient agro-ecosystems and cooking fuels are getting scarce, due to greediness, speculation, short-term gains and monocultures, leading many people to extremely insecure food situations. At the same time, Organic Agriculture however offers solutions for food security and natural resource preservation.”
Global level discussion of agrofuels should focus on local energy production but instead has been exclusively oriented towards the development of energy for industrial and commercial use, without considering the real needs of the population of the countries in which agrofuels are produced.
The production of agrofuels contributes to and worsens climate change. The destruction of natural ecosystems for the cultivation of agrofuel crops releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and also deprives the planet of natural sponges, or sinks, to absorb carbon emissions. Moreover, it diverts land away from producing food, leading to less availability of food and higher prices.
In contrast, Organic Agriculture mitigates climate change because it reduces greenhouse gases, especially nitrous oxide, as no chemical nitrogen fertilizers are used. It stores carbon in soil and plant biomass by building organic matter, encouraging agro-forestry and forbidding the clearance of primary ecosystems.
Organic Agriculture even helps farmers adapt to climate change because 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. Energy production could be sustainable in combination with Organic Agriculture, through rotation with food crops, fitting the recycling system of natural waste and aiming and contributing to self-sufficiency and access to food and energy.
Andre Leu, IFOAM World Board member and farmer in Australia, a continent that has been hit by the negative effects of climate change, explains: “It is all about a systemic approach: when tackling the one problem – shortage of fuel – one should not increase other ones like food scarcity and climate change. Organic agriculture is all about systems and thinking in balances”.
Vanaja Ramprasad from India, IFOAM World Board member, shares her experiences with subsistence farmers. “Organic Agriculture relieves farmers from dependency on others. They can work on their own clean water and other natural resources while producing food; they do not need expensive chemical inputs nor are they influenced by skyrocketing prices. They are sovereign in their food production and gain therewith dignity.”
 IFOAM insists on using the term agrofuels, as opposed to biofuels or bioenergy, to avoid confusion with organic agriculture products; in many languages the prefix “bio” is used to signify organic.
 Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.