Organic farming in developing countries to tackle world hunger

Greenpeace presents its new study on organic agriculture to German - Agriculture Minister Renate Künast

Nuremberg, Germany 14.2.2002 – Organic agriculture has a fundamental role to play in tackling world hunger. Evidence for this is shown by a new study commissioned by Greenpeace entitled ‘The Real Green Revolution’ by researcher Nick Parrott of Cardiff University. The study reveals that in developing countries today organic farming is already producing yields far in excess of those achieved by conventional agriculture. Especially in regions where resources are low and farmland is managed traditionally without chemicals or genetic engineering, farmers are reporting very successful harvests.

The study launched today by Greenpeace together with IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) at the international organic trade fair (Biofach 2002) in Nuremberg, Germany, was presented in person to the German Minister of Agriculture, Renate Künast, the same afternoon. This was accompanied by warnings from Greenpeace of the risk that the agro-industry with patents on plants and seeds is increasingly dictating to farmers on matters of agricultural production.

“Contrary to widespread opinion, the study proves that organic agriculture works very well in developing countries,” explains Oliver Knowles, spokesperson of Greenpeace UK. “This is why we must do even more to counteract the trend for dominance of the agro-markets by corporations operating globally. The problem of world hunger cannot be tackled with genetically modified crops, but by promoting a form of agriculture which takes account of a region’s local, social and cultural structures and the
farmers’ traditional knowledge.”

The study cites numerous examples to demonstrate the success of organic farming in developing countries. Thus the cotton harvest of the farmers in Madhya Pradesh/India is, on average, 20 percent higher than that of their neighbours practising conventional cotton production. In Madagascar, the rice harvest was actually doubled by using the organic SRI method (System of Rice Intensification).

More than one-quarter of the world’s land area is used for agriculture. But in the past 50 years, two-thirds of this area have been degraded. The principal causes are erosion, salination and nutrient depletion. A significant part has also been played by the so-called ‘Green Revolution’. According to propaganda from the agrochemical corporations, this would tackle famine in developing countries with large-scale use of high-yielding varieties, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and, just lately, the use of genetic engineering. Industrial agriculture has failed to feed the majority of the world’s starving. On the contrary: The whole basis of our food production, i.e. fertile soils, clean water and a multitude of animal and plant species, is being destroyed.

Attention editorial staff: Please address enquiries to Ulrike Brendel, Greenpeace Germany, Tel. +49 (0)171-8780 844 or Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace UK, Tel. +44 (0)7951 682 196 or Bernward Geier, Director of IFOAM, Tel. +49 (0)175-9962 985. To obtain photos please call +49 (0) 40-306 18 376.

The complete study “The Real Green Revolution” is available here (PDF-File, 1290 kB, 151 pages).

Quelle: © Presseerklärung Greenpeace Germany vom 2002-02-15.


© Presseerklärung Greenpeace Germany vom 2002-02-15.