Nowadays, the issue of ecological farming is getting more and more discussed by the world politicians. But how is this topic seen by ”ordinary people“? Do they have enough knowledge what ecological farming actually is or how it works? Let’s have a look at some facts and reasons why the conventional agriculture should be replaced by organic farming.
Surprisingly, after energy sector, agricultural sector is the world’s second-largest emitter. Farms produce about 13% of total global emissions. Probably the most controversial issue is the problem of greenhouse gas emissions (above all methane CH4 and nitrous oxide N2O). The main question is where they come from. During the agriculture process there are used natural and synthetic fertilizers which enter the soil. Another thing is that livestock produces CH4 by digestion and belching. Smaller sources include field burning of crop residues, and fuel used on farms. According to some experts, agriculture makes up approximately 60% of N2O. Seeing that agriculture contaminates air by above mentioned gases, it kills also beneficial insect and in consequence of it, reduces biodiversity.
In terms of division of the world by continent, the biggest amount of emissions is caused by Asia (44%), following by America (N+S), Africa, Europe and Australia. Top 3 countries with the largest agricultural emissions in 2011 were China, Brazil and US. Together with other 7 countries, they contributed 51 percent of global agricultural emissions.
But I would like to mention one more point of contemporary conventional farming i.e. insufficient conditions for animals. Oftentimes they have to be in a very small area, many of them together. It causes stress to them and therefore the meat that we eat includes stress hormones.
All these alarming data have led to idea of ecological-friendly farming. The principles of this method are total prohibition of pesticides and genetic modified organisms, preference of local sources, good care and better treatment of animals.
European Union tries to support biologically oriented farmers. The trend of usage ecological methods rises and the number of ecological farms in states of EU grows every year. Nowadays, many EU member states create programmes for development of biological farming, establishing also control mechanisms that regulate and check the quality of products and conditions of farming. In the European Union, the states with the best success and efforts of organic farming are Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavian countries, Italy, or Estonia.
Now, I would like to devote myself to impact of organic farming on consumer. Often we hear the sentence: „I am going to eat healthy. “ But what is today healthy? Should we from now begin buying just bio products? Does actually bio market cover all kinds of products? Is there bio shop in every town/village? And one more, maybe the most important question. Are buyers able to pay higher price? Nevertheless, the situation doesn’t look so negatively and markets for organic food grow (at least when we’re speaking about developed countries).
No doubt, the products of biological farming have much better effects on humans, but it’s very important to distinguish what is bio product and what not. The European Union set a few special rules on it. Bio products should be made at least from 95% of commodities which were ecologically produced and should be labelled with the logo. But are European consumers aware of it? Do they know how the EU-logo looks like? Or that there could be additionally used also national logo? Do they understand the code which is written under the logo? Would they be able to analyse it, which would guarantee that it’s real eco product?
According to retail sales value, United States are considered undoubtedly the biggest market for organic food in the world. On the other side, there are many farms, which rather focus on different aims than ecological farming. 3 weeks ago in US they launched to the market GMO salmon, persuading that it’s not worse than ”normal“ salmon. In spite of it, many states of EU try to legalise prohibition of GMO, although till now only with partial results. The big wave of criticism falls on the potential Free Trade Agreement TTIP between US and EU, mainly in the field of agriculture, which EU wants to protect. But that’s another story.
Thank you for reading 🙂