What is the contribution of organic agriculture to sustainable development?

20 Mar 2021

There is ample evidence to show that dominant agricultural management practices are not sustainable for the future. Therefore, several alternative production systems are proposed, including agroecology and organic agriculture, due to their environmental and social benefits.

Studies carried out in temperate environments (especially in Europe) have established the benefits of organic farming practices over conventional ones. However, several questions remain about the performance of organic systems under tropical conditions. The project “Comparison of Agricultural Systems in the Tropics (SysCom)”, implemented by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) , aims to establish a scientific basis for discussions on the yield and potential of conventional and organic agricultural production systems in the tropics. It has been running since 2007. In three tropical countries – Bolivia, India and Kenya – long-term agricultural system comparison field trials have been established, along with participatory on-farm research focusing on a different cropping system in each country. .

This report provides a detailed synthesis of SysCom’s scientific results, presented in a way that is easy for a “non-expert” audience to understand. The results address the differences between alternative production systems (organic and agroforestry) and conventional ones in terms of productivity, profitability, soil fertility, quality and the resilience of the agroecosystem.

Source: FAO

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