New research on agroecological farming

04 October 2013

The Soil Association has reacted in the same way as other environmental NGOs; with a degree of surprise to what Owen Paterson appears to have said with regard to climate change. This coincides with the publication of a major international research study which supports the view of the growing number of international experts who agree that agroecological systems such as organic are best suited to feed the poorest people around the world, while halting and reversing damage to the environment.

Emma Hockridge, head of policy at the Soil Association said; “In stark contrast to Mr Paterson’s alleged comments, the Government’s Committee on Climate Change chaired by Lord Deber (John Gummer) one of Mr Paterson’s Conservative predecessors accepts that we will need radical changes in farming systems in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions. If we are going to tackle climate change we need farming systems not based on nitrogen fertiliser. This study shows that organic systems are better when it comes to feeding the world.”
The study looked at examples commissioned by a peer-reviewed journal and United Nations or government-associated institutes. It found that organic farming and resource conserving techniques improved smallholder crop yields, food security and income. The authors say that there is a need for further research to fully understand and monitor the impacts of organic systems in developing countries.

These new findings support those of the IAASTD report - the largest study by international scientists into what farming systems are best able to feed the world. The new study found that on average crop yields increased by 79% and recommends agroecology to maintain and increase the productivity of global agriculture.

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