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Organic agriculture is a good option for food security in Africa

The way the world grows its food will have to change radically to better serve the poor and hungry if the world is to cope with a growing population and climate change, while avoiding social breakdown and environmental collapse, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge said on Monday.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) research has revealed that organic agriculture is a good option for food security in Africa.

The study's analysis of 114 cases in Africa revealed that a conversion of farms to organic or near-organic production increased agricultural productivity by 116%.
"Moreover, a shift towards organic production systems has enduring impact, as it builds up levels of natural, human, social, financial and physical capital in farming communities," said UNCTAD.
UNCTAD noted that organic agriculture relies on local renewable resources instead of inputs and that it reduces rural communities' vulnerability to external price vulnerability caused by factors beyond their control.

The potential to export to consumers willing to pay premium prices for certified organic products generates significant income possibilities for African countries, UNCTAD noted.

It noted that organic agriculture has a range of environmental benefits by not polluting the environment with agrochemicals and reducing illness and death in farm families due to agrochemical exposure.
Organic agriculture improves soil fertility and structure and as a result improves water retention and
resilience to climatic stress.

However, UNCTAD noted that there were also challenges for African countries, among others the fact that that organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture received very little support from African

by S. C.
11 february 2009, World News > Africa