Things about agriculture
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Ecological agriculture as a solution to environmental and food challenges
In a world facing the climate crisis and the need to feed a growing population with finite resources, the debate on the best way to sustain the world and ensure our survival is complex and polarized. However, a recently published report presents contrasted evidence on the benefits of ecological agriculture and has received the support of numerous academic, business, and social entities.
10 Things about Ecological agriculture
Respect for the environment
Mitigation of climate change
Studies indicate that ecological agriculture, when properly managed, contributes to carbon storage in the soil and mitigates climate change. By eliminating synthetic fertilizers, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by up to 20%, and carbon sequestration can offset between 40% and 72% of current annual emissions.
Ecological agriculture helps strengthen ecosystem services such as landscape maintenance, pollinators, and species diversity.
Improving water quality
Ecological agriculture reduces nitrate leaching due to factors such as using fewer fertilizers, cover crops, higher carbon content in the soil, and lower crop density. In areas vulnerable to water pollution, authorities are recommending the transition to ecological agriculture.
Studies have shown that food from ecological agriculture does not present a higher risk of diseases associated with pathogens and does not pose a microbiological risk to health.
Lower risk of pesticide contamination
Ecological agriculture implies zero or lower ingestion of pesticide contaminant residues compared to food produced through conventional agriculture. Children fed organic products have significantly lower levels of pesticide metabolites in their urine.
Capacity to feed the world
Although almost twice the amount of food necessary to feed the world’s population is produced, approximately 800 million people suffer from hunger due to poverty, social injustice, and inequality, not production problems. Ecological agriculture, combined with actions such as reducing beef production and consumption and reducing food waste, could help feed the world.
Contribution to food security
Studies suggest that ecological agriculture is an important option for food security in rural areas, especially in a context of climate change, due to its ability to adapt to environmental changes.
Organic food is not more expensive
Although organic food has a higher price compared to conventional food, this is because the additional costs of the latter, such as biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, soil degradation, and overexploitation of aquifers, are not considered. Ultimately, these impacts are paid for by society through taxes, health insurance, and agricultural subsidies.
Need for more investment in research
Research in ecological agriculture has received less funding compared to other areas, which hinders its progress and exploration of new formulas and methods. This has led to the closure of ecological agriculture research institutes in some places due to lack of funding.
In conclusion, ecological agriculture offers a range of environmental, social, and economic benefits. While it needs to be combined with other actions to address global challenges, this form of food production can play a significant role in mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity, and ensuring food security. More investment in research and policy changes are required to foster its development and promote sustainable practices in food production.