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"Tribune libre"

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’avenir est au bio

by Guillaume Moricourt

World Agriculture: The Future is Organic

Translated Sunday 8 July 2007, by Jonathan Pierrel

Should the UN recognise the advantages of organic agriculture? Organic? You must be joking my poor fellow… organic food, it’s only good enough for fools! How can you consider feeding the world with a low-productivity crops?

This deep-rooted thought, with a touch of scorn towards well-off leftists, has been demolished by the FAO (the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation). What is this noble institution’s opinion? The FAO was undoubtedly the only institution to have kept a cool head when faced with bird ’flu threat by not accepting the all-vaccine solution as a resort against pandemic threats, and. on the the other hand, by recommending dealing with the lack of hygiene in farming (with a much more limited budget) to control the virus in the egg.

The FAO reports that organic agriculture is no longer restricted to rich countries. And that it is now able to feed the planet. Around the world, the number of conversion to organic production is making good progress: organic farming is present in 120 countries. It covers 31 million hectare with a market of more than 40 billion dollars. And our own organic farming is in a certain way the guarantor, the heir of traditional farming by the peasants of the past: our grand-parents, who were endowed with common sense and who understood that resources must be preserved and animals must not to be ill-treated.

A few years ago, to replace pesticides that cause countless deaths in the third world, often through misuse, the FAO had already advocated biological battles to get rid of crop-destroying insects. This method consists of different "good" insects to eliminate other "bad" one. At home in France, crusading ladybirds are gallantly and cleanly exterminating greenflies …

Today, the FAO is going further and encouraging countries throughout the world to develop organic farming. The advantages are well known by agronomists: maintaining the soil (impoverishment from intensive farming with the prospect of making the land infertile), to using natural products in place of chemicals, less pollution, better taste…

But the FAO report issued in Rome on 3 May notes even more benefits: better cost-efficiency, improved resistance of the ecosystems against climatic constraints, decrease in the use of fossil fuels… Organic farming is able to maintain rural structures and to prevent urban areas from swelling because it needs more workers. From a holistic point of view, organic farming is better. The FAO concluded its report saying that “organic agriculture is a holistic production management system that avoids use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms, minimizes pollution of air, soil and water, and optimizes the health and productivity of interdependent communities of plants, animals and people.” What else? Intensive farming is dependent on low fuel costs, and in a near future, the workforce will be cheaper than machines…

The future of the agriculture lies in organic agriculture. It is our duty to defend it against harmful effects of extensive poisoning, the lack of sense of industrial agriculture, and against the European Council decision of 12 June to impose on EU consumers to accept a contamination of organic products up to 0.9% (as with non-organic products) to get rid of claims that products are "GM-free" when they are not, and that biotechnologies are left alone.

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