What prospect does organic farming hold for farmers in the South?
Photo: J. Boethling

24.08.2012

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The principles of organic farming were developed in Northern countries, largely in response to nutrient abuse in young, nutrient-rich soils. Consumers in the North are willing to pay for products with additional value such as environmental benefits. In contrast, farmers in the South struggle with the often low nutrient status of their soils and poor access to markets. The authors argue that avoidance of organic farming being limited to “prime sites” will require a more site-specific definition of organic agriculture; they suggest that organic certification systems be broadened to bring organic agriculture from the “elite” to the public while meeting global needs for food security.

Millions of farmers in developing countries, particularly in agro-ecologically or infrastructurally marginalised areas, practise no-external-input agriculture and are thus fulfilling the legal requirements of certified organic agriculture (avoidance of easily-soluble mineral fertilisers, chemical-synthetic plant protection and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)) without being recognised or compensated for.

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