The organic food market has boomed in the recent past. Organic retail stores sell more than just vegetables and fruits today. Starting from organic bags to organic skin care, the consumers want to be aware of the effects the products have on the environment in the process of manufacture. Consuming organic products is now an active movement that everyone is a part of. This has become a practice familiar with millennials as well as the older generation. Consuming organic food is considered the first step towards conserving the planet. Although contrary to popular belief, it has been proved by some studies that producing organic food does more harm to the climate than non-organic food cultivated using pesticides.
Organic food may be good for health, but organic farming is not better for the environment. A study of organic farms concluded that the use of pesticides usually helped increase the yield. This meant that the lack of pesticides reduces the yield by almost 40% on traditional farms. The demand being constant, more land is needed to produce to satisfy the demands, adding to greenhouse gases and even water shortages. The agricultural methods referred to as “no-till” involving the use of biotechnology and genetically modified crops guaranteed that the there was ample yield and it reduced the turnover of the soil, a process that naturally releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They used herbicides to kill weeds that tilling usually prevents. In contrast, the average organic harvest in most developed countries is nearly 19-25% smaller than what a conventional farmer could produce. Organic crops are often lost to weeds and pests due to the lack of using any chemicals.
Some land that has initially been used by conventional farmers who used pesticides cannot use the same land for the cultivation of organic crops owing to the fact that the soil will contain remains of the used pesticides. As more land is converted for agriculture, it is a leading contributor to habitat loss. To receive certification of being organic, farmers refrain from using strong pesticides and chemical weed killers and often lose their crops to evolved pests that are used to pesticides, naturally organic methods of killing these pests are out of the question.
On the bright side, it has been observed that organic farmers attract more plants and bees which produce lesser nitrogen in comparison. This is inherently better for the water quality. But on the other hand, these lands are known to create lesser diversity for birds in pastures. As organic methods involve tilling of the land, land conversion creating land for organic farming adds up to 7% greenhouses gases into the atmosphere.
These are not the only glitches, some research has provided that some European countries cannot produce food in the coming years due to the eroding soil by rain and wind. Flash floods and droughts are infamous for reducing the soil quality. India is in a similar predicament, climate changes have caused the weather to be erratic, conventional Indian farmers are forever upset. The soil quality is deteriorating with the use of conventional technological methods. Intensive agriculture is another reason for soil erosion, this can easily be one of the reasons that Indian soils are overused, after all, India is known to be primarily an agricultural nation.
Organic farming with respect to soil quality is observed to be more positive, a global analysis has reported that over time, this type of farming stores significant amounts of carbon in the soil, an effective way of combatting climate change. It has also been noticed that some organic techniques had a better bargain in building organic matter in the soil thereby improving the efficiency of the fertiliser use. As fertiliser use increases to keep up the yields, the quality of the soil naturally deteriorates. The world’s soils are a major source for atmospheric carbon according to many, the nitrous oxide follows suit, it is a greenhouse gas and a famous by-product of adding artificial nitrogen fertilisers to the soils.
Organic farming is expensive from the beginning to end. Research shows that people who switch to organic food may spend 50% more on their stores. Higher prices for organic food products can be attributed to limited supply in contrast with the demand and the need to maintain separate distribution channels for obvious reasons. Middle-class consumers need to have knowledge and the choice over the quality of food they wish to buy. This is a luxury not just for them, but the environment as well.
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