Organic Agriculture Reduces Climate Change, Poverty and Hunger

An Organic Recipe for Development

Organic food from Kenya

Stephen Leahy

Dec 18 (IPS/IFEJ) – Organic agriculture is a potent tool to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, but also to alleviate poverty and improve food security in developing countries, many experts now believe.

Organic agriculture’s use of compost and crop diversity means it will also be able to better withstand the higher temperatures and more variable rainfall expected with global warming.

“Organic agriculture is about optimising yields under all conditions,” says Louise Luttikholt, strategic relations manager at the International Federation of Organic Agriculture (IFOAM) in Bonn, Germany. IFOAM is the international umbrella organisation of organic agriculture movements around the world.

For example, a village in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia that had converted to organic agriculture continued to harvest crops even during a severe drought, while neighbouring villages using conventional chemical fertilisers had nothing, Luttikholt told IPS.

Because compost is used rather than chemical fertilisers, organic soils contain much more humus and organic carbon — which in turn retains much more water.

“They can also absorb more water faster which means they are less likely to flood,” she said.

It took more work to make the conversion to organic but it paid off when the drought stuck in the third year, according to Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, director general of the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia.

Full story on how organic can reduce climate change, poverty and hunger.

Part of a series on sustainable development for IPS and IFEJ (International Federation of Environmental Journalists)

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