It is obvious that the demand for the market of organic agriculture products is constantly increasing. Moreover, there is a large number of people who believe that organic products are better and more nutritious. But is this the case? How does a product qualify as organic under the legislation?
What does the EU say?
According to the EU, the use of inorganic and synthetic fertilizers, as well as synthetic pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides) is not allowed in organic farming. In addition, a product cannot be considered organic if it is derived from genetically modified plants. In 2022, stricter criteria are expected to be added to qualify a product as organic. The EU target is that by 2030, 25% of cultivated land should be farmed using organic farming methods.
However, many researchers argue that a large-scale shift to organic farming could reduce global yields by 40%. Losses are due to damage caused by insects and diseases, which are difficult to control, and weeds are a bigger problem due to competition with crops for nutrients. The problem is compounded by the fact that organic farming fertilisation methods, such as composting or manure, are unable to meet the needs of crops and can in no way match the fertilisation levels of synthetic fertilisers. These are the main reasons why an organic product is usually considerably more expensive.
But with today’s needs for sustainability, it is imperative that we change the way we farm, and organic farming seems to have many advantages towards this goal. Due to the non-use of pesticides, biodiversity seems to be increasing. In addition, as no fertilisers are used, the risk of nitrate pollution of water resources is significantly reduced. It is also important that there are no pesticide residues in the products.
the data show that there is no difference in nutrients between a product of organic origin and a product of conventional agriculture. However, the concentration of some antioxidants seems to be increased in organic products; while the concentration of nitrates and some heavy metals such as cadmium seem to be reduced. It is therefore possible that products of organic origin are more beneficial to human health than conventional products.
Finally, the advantages that organic farming seems to have are too important to neglect. It is therefore necessary to carry out research and find ways to increase the yields of organic farming. However, as long as a person has a small plot of land, it is very important and beneficial both for him or her and for the environment to cultivate with organic farming methods, as in some cases and in small plots of land that are controlled, the yields of organic farming are at the level of conventional farming.