Reuters UK is reporting on the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements’s (IFOAM) reaction to a recent U.N. food summit touting chemical fertilizers and genetically modified (GM) crops rather than organic solutions to tackle world hunger.
From the article:
At the U.N. food summit in Rome this month, the World Bank pledged $1.2 billion in grants to help with the food crisis.
“The $1.2 billion the World Bank says will solve the food crisis in Africa is a $1.2 billion subsidy to the chemical industry,” said Vandana Shiva, an Indian physics professor and environmental activist speaking at the forum in Modena.
“Countries are made dependent on chemical fertilizers when their prices have tripled in the last year due to rising oil prices,” she said. “I say to governments: spend a quarter of that on organic farming and you’ve solved your problems.”
She said industrial farming was based on planting a single crop on vast surfaces and heavy use of chemical fertilizers, a process that used 10 times more energy than it produced.
“The rest turns into waste as greenhouse gases, chemical runoffs and pesticide residues in our food,” she said.
In contrast, organic farms could increase output by 10 times by growing many different species of plants at the same time, which helped retain soil and water, she said. “In a one-acre farm in India they can grow 250 species of plants,” she said.
As organic farmer Eliot Coleman points out in this video, he can produce—on his small four-season farm in Maine—up to 24 times the number of carrots per acre in a year than a large-scale farming outfit. (And his fields are filled with the biodiversity necessary to support and benefit from the local bee population.)