Organic Farming

IFOAM Principles
Citation Klaus Töpfer, UNEP
Benefits of Organic Farming

The Principal Aims of Organic Production and Processing
Organic Production and Processing is based on a number of principles and ideas. All are important and this list does not seek to establish any priority of importance. The principles include:

1. To produce sufficient quantities of high quality food, fiber and other products

2. To work compatibly with natural cycles and living systems through the soil, plants and animals in the entire production system.

3. To recognize the wider social and ecological impact of and within the organic production and processing system.

4. To maintain and increase long-term fertility and biological activity of soils using locally adapted cultural, biological and mechanical methods as opposed to reliance on inputs.

5. To maintain and encourage agricultural and natural biodiversity on the farm and surrounds through the use of sustainable production systems and the protection of plant and wildlife habitats.

6. To maintain and conserve genetic diversity through attention to on-farm management of genetic resources.

7. To promote the responsible use and conservation of water and all life therein.

8. To use, as far as possible, renewable resources in production and processing systems and avoid pollution and waste.

9. To foster local and regional production and distribution.

10. To create a harmonious balance between crop production and animal husbandry.

11. To provide living conditions that allow animals to express the basic aspects of their innate behavior

12. To utilize biodegradable, recyclable and recycled packaging materials.

13. To provide everyone involved in organic farming and processing with a quality of life that satisfies their basic needs, within a safe, secure and healthy working environment.

14. To support the establishment of an entire production, processing and distribution chain which is both socially just and ecologically responsible.

15. To recognize the importance of, and protect and learn from, indigenous knowledge and traditional farming systems.

(Source: IFOAM Norms for organic production and processing 2002, section B, general principles, recommendations and standards)

Citation Klaus Töper, UNEP
“Organic agriculture can play an important role to achieve the goals of the Convention on Biodiversity, in the global context of the Millennium Development Goals, by significantly reducing the current rate of biodiversity loss. In addition, organic farming offers direct economic benefits to resource-poor farmers and thereby makes an important contribution to both poverty alleviation and sustainable development.” -Statement made by UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer at the IFOAM Conference on Biodiversity and Organic Agriculture that UNEP co-hosted September 24-26, 2004 in Nairobi, Kenya

Scientifically Proved Benefits of Organic Agriculture

1. Minimization of impacts on climate change
The most important reason to climate change is the emission of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O). On a global scale, agriculture is responsible for approximately 15 per cent of the trace gas emissions with climate impact. This happens not only through the direct energy (burning of oil and fuel), but also through the indirect energy (use of oil and fuel for the production and transport of fertilisers, machinery and synthetic pesticides) inputs.

Refering to a study by the UK Government organic farming requires about half the amount of energy as conventional farming to produce the same amount of food. An important reason for this is, among others, that organic farming is a local production system, which reduces road transports. Therefore organic farming is not only more energy efficient, but also minimizes impact on climate change.
Source: Chapter 2: Organic agriculture and the Environment, Alfoeldi et al. 2002 Information sheet 25.08.2005: Climate change and agriculture Organic farming and the environment – Annex 3 to DEFRA Organic Action Plan

2. Water and soil protection
The prejudicial effects of intensive agriculture on soil and consequently on ground and surface water are mainly due to pesticide pollution, nitrate leaching and erosion of top soil into adjacent waters. Organic soil management techniques improve soil structure through the use of organic matter, which has the potential to limit physical damage and to improve biological activity as well as nutrient availability. Consequently the water infiltration and retention capacity is enhanced decreasing the erosion risk. In organic farms the rates of nitrate leaching are lower than in conventional farms, because of the absence of mineral N-fertilisers and the lower livestock densities. Furthermore there is no risk of water pollution through pesticides, because organic farming does not use synthetic pesticides.
Source: Chapter 2: Organic agriculture and the Environment, Alfoeldi et al. 2002 Information sheet 25.08.2005: Climate change and agriculture Organic farming and the environment – Annex 3 to DEFRA Organic Action Plan DOC-trial: 20 years of organic and conventional farming affect soil microbial properties, Oberholzer et al. 2000

3. Increase of biodiversity
Organic farming has a positive influence on wildlife conservation. Modern intensive agriculture with its high input of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides and monocrop strategies has been prejudicial for biodiversity. Organic standards require the wildlife-friendly management of habitats, such as hedges and ditches.
Source: Chapter 2: Organic agriculture and the Environment, Alfoeldi et al. 2002 Organic farming and the environment – Annex 3 to DEFRA Organic Action Plan Journal reference: Biological Conservation (vol 122, p 113)

4. Food Safety
In a review of 41 studies from around the world, organic crops were shown to have statistically significant higher levels of vitamin C, iron and phosphorous. Consequently organic food is supposed to be healthier, but scientifically there is a lack of investigations that could support this view. A lot of different facts influence the health of a person, that is why it is difficult to measure the direct influence of food. But food quality means in the case of organic food: the amount of pesticide residues ingested is reduced, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are avoided, the amount of food additives and colourings are minimized and the whole production flow of all certified farms and food processors is strictly controlled at least once a year.
Source: Information sheet 04.02.2005; Organic food: facts and figures 2005 Organic diet enhanced the health of rats Nutritional consequences of using organic agricultural methods in developing countries, Brandt and Kidmose

5. Food Security
In 2002 a Greenpeace study on agro-ecological farming techniques affirmed, that organic farming is the ideal method for food production in the developing world, because it improves productivity and nutrition at low cost, sustainably and without reliance on foreign commercial interests.
While in developed countries the conversion to organic agriculture normally reduces yields at the beginning generally by 5-20% until the soil micro-organism flora is reestablished, this average changes in the case of developing countries. In these countries small farmers can not afford to purchase fertilisers and pesticides, so that especially in rain fed areas organic agriculture leads to increased yields.
Source: Information sheet 04.02.2005: Organic food: facts and figures 2005 Organic agriculture and food security

Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) No.2345 Longyang Road, Pudong New District, Shanghai, China

Date & Opening Times
2023.9.19-20 09:00-17:00
2023.9.21 09:00-15:00