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Can Organic Farming Feed the World ?

Today, the answer to this question is clearly no. Quite simply because only 1% of agricultural land is organically farmed worldwide. However, organic agriculture can show the way forward with regard to ecology. In fact, and in the opinion of a majority of experts on the subject, organic farming systems produce yields that average 20 to 40% less than conventional agriculture. The same experts note that organic farming compared to industrial agriculture offers numerous advantages: reducing pesticides and water use - reducing of soil erosion - delivering a better quality of food etc.. And the development of organic farming will continue for two main reasons. First, the pressure of consumers who want to have access to clean and healthy food and who are willing to pay more to eat better. Second, and it is directly linked to this latter comment, organic agriculture despite lower yields is more profitable -20 to 30%- for farmers. It should also be stressed that the European organic market grew by nearly 8% in 2014. Retail sales totaled € 23.9 billion in the EU and € 26.2 billion in Europe. And this market continues to grow. In 2015, it increased by 13% and nearly reached € 30 billion. According to the latest FiBL datas Germany is the largest organic market in Europe (€ 8.9 Bn) followed by France (€ 7 Bn). However, the US with 43% is still the first organic market worldwide ahead of the EU with 38%. There is no doubt that the agricultural industrial model is in rapid transformation. But it is also obvious that organic farming is not ready or in a position to feed the entire world. Indeed, it could take another century for all agriculture to be organic!

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