yes, organic farming can indeed feed the world!

i’m oftentimes confronted with the argument that organic farming is a flawed solution, because it cannot feed the entire population, let alone the 9 billion people we expect by 2050. that this is the product of false information from the industrial food lobby is not even so clear to many people in the ‘green movement’, so i thought i’d set the record straight.

in 2007, two researchers from my alma mater argue that organic farming can feed the world. in fact, they found organic farming can produce up to three times higher yields than conventional farming, with the average being around 80% in developing countries (paper here).

since one research paper might not impress you, there’s more: in 2008, the IAASTD published a 2500 page report (supported by the world bank, the UN, and the WHO, 60 world governments and 400 experts) that says that the industrial food system can’t feed the world in the long run, and the conventional system actually increases hunger, exhausts resources and aggravates climate change. unfortunately, the report has not garnered much media attention.

however, these findings are even shared with the highest UN authority on food. in march 2011, olivier de schutter, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, reports that “eco-farming can double food production in 10 years”, and is quoted in the corresponding press release: “we won’t solve hunger and stop climate change with industrial farming on large plantations. the solution lies in supporting small-scale farmers’ knowledge and experimentation, and in raising incomes of smallholders so as to contribute to rural development.” 

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