“It is more profitable in the long term to be organic than conventional.”
02 Sep 2020
Interview with Ing. Agr. Pedro A. Landa, General Director of OIA, in the Patagonia Sur-Sur program of Canal Rural, led by Pablo Caresano.
During the report, the journalist recounted the experiences of “La Estancia Floradora and El Lobo”, in Santa Cruz, where they have been under the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certification process for two years, this being their beginning on the organic path that will culminate in in 2022 with the certificate as organic. In addition, Landa explained the multiple benefits of organic production and regenerative agriculture work that takes place in the South of the country.
What is the situation of organic production in the world and in our country?
The organic world continues to grow by leaps and bounds and it no longer surprises anyone because the consumer asks for it, it has great sensitivity and an awakening that is also reflected in Argentina, where we have a lot of internal consumption that continues to grow.
What guarantees does organic production offer?
Today we know that consumers are concerned about global sustainability, they reward someone they think offers them something different, so we all want to call ourselves “natural” and / or “sustainable”. The reality is that this naturalness or sustainability can have a short, medium or long term, and the one that offers the long-term guarantees is organic production because it has rules, you know how it is produced, you know how it is controlled. Therefore, the consumer can trust, because if there is an error or a deviation, that will be penalized and paid and in this way they are not deceived. This is why the word “natural” is no longer strong as a market tool and the consumer does not reward it as it used to be.
What is the difference between organic production?
In general, producers think in terms of productivity (I took so many kilos per hectare, so many liters of milk, so many kilos of wool, etc.), and the reality is that what organic offers is not more productivity from the point of view clearly economic, but more profitability. This is because it offers a difference in production costs, since the cost structure changes, you have more labor, you have a very important component of chemical synthesis products, which today is expensive that you do not have in organic production and also, you have a differential price for that consumer who recognizes it.
I would say that it is more profitable in the long term to be organic than conventional because organic dampens climatic and market swings better than conventional, it is more stable.
What does the pasture evaluation mean in the organic fields of Argentine Patagonia?
Patagonia has some interesting characteristics and SENASA, for example, in its fight for the organic norm, which is an icon and highly respected in Argentina; A few years ago, it gave Patagonia the obligation to evaluate grasslands for all fields that are organic. When we look at it in the long term, the evaluation of pastures means that one has an adequate load for a field and that next year bad with drought, one can avoid it because it does not come with an overload that must be eliminated immediately. That is why I would say that in Patagonia the Argentine organic norm accompanied the reality of the system and has generated a stable harvest of benefits for the parties (all the actors involved in the chain: producers and wool companies) and the country.
What are the characteristics of the new regenerative agriculture regulations?
The new regulations for regenerative agriculture tend to try to return the system from the ground up, to its original state, that is, to improve all the loss of soil that we have had, which is a natural process.
There are two processes that are faced: on the one hand the formation of soils, which is very slow, and the destruction of soils, which is due to erosion. Regenerative agriculture is just about helping to accelerate soil formation.
When we look at the regulations applied by SENASA with the evaluation aspects of pastures, we are in front of what is awarded today as regenerative agriculture, which is an organic agriculture of the highest responsibility and Patagonia is complying with it. Therefore, I believe that we have a task ahead of us, which is to promote precisely those characteristics and in this we are working with some producers and companies with the North American market, which is rewarding this regeneration of the system.
The world is waking up and saying: “Are you organic, but in addition to maintaining a system, are you improving it?” And the regenerative is the pure part of the organic that works on the soil to regenerate it and rebuild the lost system.
Access the video of the interview on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IvnxLrwsZk