We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Role of Organic Food in Modern Agriculture Arena

Abstract

Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that aims at sustainable agriculture, high-quality products and the use of processes that do not harm neither the environment, nor human, plant or animal health and welfare. Consumers are anxious about food quality, production techniques and provenance and they trust organic foods more easily. Various terms such as ‘bio’, ‘eco’ and ‘organic’ are used to refer to organic products. The term ‘bio/biological’ prevails in Latin and Germanic languages. English-speaking countries mostly use the term ‘organic’. More specifically, the term ‘organic’ refers to an overall system of farm management and food production that aims at sustainable agriculture, high –quality products and the use of processes that do not harm the environment, and human, plant or animal health and welfare.

Get quality help now

writer-Shana
writer-Shana
Proficient in: Organic Food
  • 3 Hours Delivery result
  • 24/7 Support
  • 100% Plagiarizm free
hire writer

However, these widely used terms in food marketing have a variety of definitions, most of which are vague and assumed to imply foods that are minimally processed and all of whose ingredients are natural products. Organically grown foods are indeed not to be confused with foods sold as ‘natural’. In the United States of America (USA) for example, the term ‘organic’ can be used for certified organic products, while the label ‘all-natural’ is a legally unregulated expression. Organic agricultural practice is environmentally sustainable by nature. Soil-building techniques such as crop rotation and minimum tillage preserve soil fauna and flora, improve soil formation and structure, and avoid soil erosion. Many management practices used by organic agriculture increase the return of carbon to the soil, raising productivity and favouring carbon storage. The more organic carbon is retained in the soil, the higher the climate-change mitigation potential of agriculture. This paper highlights the benefits of organic food, environmental impacts of organic agricultural practices and importance of organic food production in the world.

Keywords: Consumers, Organic Agriculture, Organic Food and Organic Products.

Introduction

Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that aims at sustainable agriculture, high-quality products and the use of processes that do not harm neither the environment, nor human, plant or animal health and welfare. Consumers are anxious about food quality, production techniques and provenance and they trust organic foods more easily. Various terms such as ‘bio’, ‘eco’ and ‘organic’ are used to refer to organic products. The term ‘bio/biological’ prevails in Latin and Germanic languages. English-speaking countries mostly use the term ‘organic’. More specifically, the term ‘organic’ refers to an overall system of farm management and food production that aims at sustainable agriculture, high –quality products and the use of processes that do not harm the environment, and human, plant or animal health and welfare. However, these widely used terms in food marketing have a variety of definitions, most of which are vague and assumed to imply foods that are minimally processed and all of whose ingredients are natural products. Organically grown foods are indeed not to be confused with foods sold as ‘natural’. In the United States of America (USA) for example, the term ‘organic’ can be used for certified organic products, while the label ‘all-natural’ is a legally unregulated expression.

Benefits of Organic Food

The sustainable nature of organic farming is generally accepted, its health and nutritional benefits are still widely debated. The use of (organic) pesticides and the possible presence of residues in organically grown crops also attract a lot of attention. A difficulty comes from the fact that, when assessing the results of existing studies, at least three different aspects are treated simultaneously by difference in nutritional elements, benefits for human health and the impact on the environment.

  • From a strictly nutritional perspective

Scientists have found little advantage in organic foods. In 2012, a deep review of 240 studies found that organic foods were not significantly more nutritious than their conventionally grown counterparts. For nutrition experts, the endless debate on the benefits of organic produce is just a distraction from the real issue at hand, which is that a majority of Europeans do not reach the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) on a daily consumption of vegetables and fruit of any type – around 400 g per day – which is a more pressing concern.

  • From a health perspective

The level of pesticide residues was found to be lower among organic produce and a more recent study from 2014 revealed fewer pesticide residues, and 20% to 40% higher levels of antioxidants in organically grown crops. It is however unclear whether antioxidants can improve human health, and their precise role is still being debated.

  • From an environmental perspective

Practitioners assert that the best reason to buy organic food is for the lower impact and sustainable production values, and that any nutritional benefit should simply be considered a ‘bonus’.

Environmental Impacts of Organic Agricultural Practices

  • Organic Agricultural Practice is Environmentally Sustainable by Nature

Soil-building techniques such as crop rotation and minimum tillage preserve soil fauna and flora, improve soil formation and structure, and avoid soil erosion. Many management practices used by organic agriculture increase the return of carbon to the soil, raising productivity and favouring carbon storage. The more organic carbon is retained in the soil, the higher the climate-change mitigation potential of agriculture.

  • Organic Fertilizers

The use of organic fertilisers (e.g. compost, animal manure, green manure) and greater biodiversity (in terms of species cultivated and permanent vegetation) also enhance soil structure and water infiltration which, in turn, reduce the risk of groundwater pollution.

  • Traditional Seeds and Breeds

Moreover, traditional and adapted seeds and breeds are preferred for their greater resistance to diseases and their resilience to climatic stress. Finally, the maintenance of natural areas within and around organic fields, together with the absence of chemical inputs, preserve habitats for wildlife.

  • Reduction in Yield Gap

Meanwhile, organic farming has not necessarily positive impacts on the environment per product unit. Yield differences may range from 5% to 34%. If Europe tried to feed itself exclusively through organic agriculture (at constant consumption), it would need an additional million hectares. In terms of climate impact and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, organic milk, cereals and pork production generate higher GHG emissions per unit of output than the conventional alternative. However, when multi-cropping and crop rotation are applied in organic systems diversification, these practices substantially reduce the yield gap with non-organic management practices to about 9%. On the other hand, consumers having a preference for organic food are also more environmentally conscious and may have more sustainable dietary habits food, eat less meat and therefore contribute less to high land-consumption and GHG emissions.

Bio-Pesticides Used and Monitored in Organic Farming

Practitioners claim that organic food-production systems rely essentially on preventive measures. The primary form of pest control in organic farming is carried out mainly through a number of fundamental practices including crop rotation, maintenance of biodiversity and optimum crop health, and the use of resistant varieties. In general, organic growers tend to privilege the use of biological control agents, namely parasites of pests, released into the crop area.

  • Pyrethrins, for instance, are organic insecticides produced by certain species of chrysanthemum. They are highly toxic to aquatic life but are however reported to rapidly degrade in sunlight at the soil surface and in water.
  • Research is under way to find acceptable organic alternatives for copper sulphate – a fungicide of organic origin – which is strongly bio-accumulated, meaning repeated exposure to low doses can lead to toxic effects. Some promising alternatives include potassium bicarbonate (which is safe for humans and the environment) and milk by-products. In the meantime, restrictions limit the use of copper salts.

Organic Foods More Expensive

The cost of certified organic foods is generally higher than the price of their conventional counterparts. There are various reasons which account for this difference:

  1. Demand for organic food is growing, but supply is still limited. Currently, organic farmland accounts for only 1% of total worldwide farmland, and organic farms tend to produce less than conventional farms;
  2. Production costs for organic foods are typically higher because organic farming is more labour-intensive;
  3. Organic farming techniques reduce the frequency at which organic farmers can grow profitable crops, such as crop rotation and the use of cover crops. They are therefore unable to produce the larger quantities that are most cost-effective for conventional farmers;
  4. The crop losses in organic farming are also higher, which in turn, results in higher retail prices. Last but not least, to avoid cross-contamination, organic and conventional produce must be separated during processing and transportation. This involves the handling of relatively small quantities of organic foods – including in the marketing and distribution stages – which further increases the final cost for consumers.
  5. The cost of organic foods comprises factors not reflected in the price of conventional foods, not only food production, but also a series of other. These include environmental protection and avoidance of future expenses to mitigate pollution, higher standards for animal welfare and reduction of health risks (and future medical expenses) to farmers due to inappropriate handling of pesticides.

Importance of Organic Food Production in the World

Certain products are more in demand than others:

  • Fruit and vegetables – the pioneer organic products – now have shares of around one fifth of many national organic markets and are especially prominent in Italy, Ireland, Sweden, and Germany;
  • Animal products – especially milk and dairy products, represent in northern Europe a substantial share of all organic products (up to 20%) with the highest market shares in the sheep and bovine sectors;
  • Beverages – mainly wine (10% in France and Croatia) – attract a substantial part of the market;
  • Bread and bakery products- have around 10% share in the organic product range in the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Finland, and Germany;
  • Hot beverages -(coffee, tea, and cocoa) represent 3% to 5% and grain mill products – which are easily stored in supermarkets – reach high shares in the Czech Republic and in Finland.

Conclusion

Organic food means different things to different people. In the USA, for example, many consumers buy organics because they are perceived as healthier than conventional foods. In the EU, environmental concerns are the primary purchasing motive. In China, organic is expected to be high quality and safer. The use of (organic) pesticides and the possible presence of residues in organically grown crops also attract a lot of attention.

Strong online presence and extensive organic ranges make that leading UK retail stores increased their year-to-year organic sales mainly to organic shoppers, who tend to spend more on premium products than conventional consumers. Meanwhile, the increasing competition for shoppers and the recent market entry of retail discounters make analysts fear a price war seriously affecting farmers and food manufacturers. Fast-food restaurant chains are also increasingly offering organic products. If the prospects of high profits and return on investment are attracting more and more investment funds specialising in ‘green investments’ with some of these schemes financially profitable to farmers, there has also been evidence of some land-grabbing practices. The recent growth in orga]nic farming has also given rise to the ‘conventionalisation hypothesis’, according to which some big organic farms are increasingly functioning as modified models of conventional farms, in particular under the growing influence of conventional agro-food commodity chains. Researchers highlight in particular the use of off-farm inputs transported over a long distance (e.g. animal feed from Latin America), and their ambiguous social impact, as organic farms seem to have developed more in areas with larger average farm sizes.

References

  1. Balfour, Lady Eve. 2014.’Towards a Sustainable Agriculture–The Living Soil’. IFOAM. Retrieved st
  2. Barański, M; Rempelos, L; Iversen, PO; Leifert, C. 2017. ‘Effects of organic food consumption on human health; the jury is still out!’. Food & Nutrition Research. 61 (1): 1287333. doi:10.1080/16546628.2017.1287333. PMC 5345585. PMID 28326003.
  3. Barański, M; Srednicka-Tober, D; Volakakis, N; Seal, C; Sanderson, R; Stewart, GB; Benbrook, C; Biavati, B; Markellou, E; Giotis, C; Gromadzka-Ostrowska, J; Rembiałkowska, E; Skwarło-Sońta, K; Tahvonen, R; Janovská, D; Niggli, U; Nicot, P; Leifert, C. 2014. ‘Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses’. The British Journal of Nutrition. 112 (5): 1–18. doi:10.1017/S0007114514001366. PMC 4141693. PMID 24968103.
  4. Blair, Robert. 2012. Organic Production and Food Quality: A Down to Earth Analysis. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. Pages 72, 223. ISBN 978-0-8138-1217-5
  5. Smith-Spangler, C; Brandeau, ML; Hunter, GE; Bavinger, JC; Pearson, M; Eschbach, PJ; Sundaram, V; Liu, H; Schirmer, P; Stave, C; Olkin, I; Bravata, DM. 2012. ‘Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review’. Annals of Internal Medicine. 157 (5): 348–366. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-157-5-201209040-00007. PMID 22944875.

Choose Type of service

Choose writer quality

Page count

1 page 275 words

Deadline

Order Essay Writing

$13.9 Order Now
icon Get your custom essay sample
icon
Sara from Artscolumbia

Hi there, would you like to get such an essay? How about receiving a customized one?
Check it out goo.gl/Crty7Tt

Role of Organic Food in Modern Agriculture Arena
Artscolumbia
Artscolumbia
Abstract Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that aims at sustainable agriculture, high-quality products and the use of processes that do not harm neither the environment, nor human, plant or animal health and welfare. Consumers are anxious about food quality, production techniques and provenance and they trust organic foods more easily. Various terms such as 'bio', 'eco' and 'organic' are used to refer to organic products. The term 'bio/biolo
2022-06-07 02:07:51
Role of Organic Food in Modern Agriculture Arena
$ 13.900 2018-12-31
artscolumbia.org
In stock
Rated 5/5 based on 1 customer reviews