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Large-Scale Organic Farming and Food Supply Essay

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Updated: Jun 6th, 2019

Introduction

The issue of farmers shifting to the organic means of farming raises questions in terms of whether there will be an increase in the supply of food in the whole world. Therefore, this work tries to solve the question by considering the advantages of using the organic means of farming in relation to the convention means of farming. In addition, the paper covers some of the shortcomings of the organic means of farming in details.

It has also considered the role of the organic way of farming, in as far as the issue of environmental sustainability with relation to stable supply of enough food to the population, is concerned. The world food supply has been one of the main issues that everyone is extremely worried about, especially with the great impacts of global warming, which is affecting food security.

This aspect holds because many different parts of the world are experiencing hunger. Parties shove blame to each other. However, the question that remains in the mind of many people is whether the world can be able to achieve a sustainable environment as well as maintain a stable supply of enough food to the population.

One of the millennium development goals is to ensure environmental sustainability. The achievement of this goal is through sustainable development. Sustainable development refers to the form of development that perfectly caters for the needs of all the current generations, while ensuring that the future generation’s ability to cater for their needs is not compromised in any manner (Thomas 272).

Development in itself entails the process of social, economic, and environmental development because development revolves around these three factors. This means that, the principles of development are defined, in the three components, to achieve the balance, which is sustainable development. In addition, the measure of the three factors as the indicators shows the level of sustainability.

The problems in the three systems are usually related, and that means their solutions too are related (Thomas 285). The issue of environmental sustainability comes up due to the emerging ways of farming like the great shift of the farmers to the use of organic methods of farming.

In whatever man does with the environment, it is particularly crucial to ensure its sustainability, since the environment can do without man, but man cannot do without the environment. Large-scale shift to organic farming is not the way to increase world food supply. This statement has been particularly controversial, as far as issues of the environment, are concerned.

Is a large-scale shift to organic farming the best way to increase world food supply?

Ways used in organic farming include the following; recycling of the crop waste as well as the animal manures, crop rotation, right time and soil cultivation, use of legumes waste and green manure and mulching on the entire soil surface (Francis 244). Currently, due to the emerging issues of food scarcity, many farmers devised means and ways to increase their farms productivity.

One of the most favourable ways to the farmers in terms of the cost is the use of organic agricultural ways of farming, which has a decidedly strong potential to increase the soil value and not necessarily the agricultural productivity (Thomas 282). In actual sense, the use of the organic agricultural method is one of the means by which most parts of the world are achieving sustainable supply of food as well as environmental sustainability.

However, other effects are involved. It is one of the methods if combined with the conventional methods is known to cause biological poisoning through a process called bioaccumulation and bio concentration.

This method is whereby these organic chemicals accumulates in the soil or the environment, like the air, and then the first organism takes them in a given food chain before getting to the bodies of human beings, in a poisonous form. An example is the use of fertilizers in a farm to grow crops (Lotter 39).

This technology causes chemical deposits in the rivers or seas due to runoffs. Then the fish in the waters accumulates the chemicals in their body, and eventually human beings consume the fish containing the chemical deposits causing harmful effects, like cancers, in their body.

Organic farming entails the use of manure, pest control through biological means, and the use of pesticides approved organically. It does not involve the use of any synthetic chemicals or fertilizers. It is one of the best ways to upgrade the health of the soil, health of the people, as well as the ecosystem (Thomas 287).

This aspect stands because it only involves ecological processes, cycles and biodiversity that are remarkably adapted to the entire locally existing conditions. However, it combines some innovative efforts, traditional methods as well as the scientific methods for it to be successful in terms of environmental sustainability and food production.

However, this method has been found limiting, in terms of food productivity, because of the claims aired that; it is not a reliable method to achieve an increase in farm productivity. The use of green manure for instance adds value to the soil. However, the method does not cater for the issues of pests (Francis 236).

Pests like the locusts could raid the crops and this means that, the crops will grow exceptionally well, but up to a certain age of their growth there. In such circumstances, failure to use synthetic pesticides affects the production. Therefore, as much as it is exceptionally beneficial in terms of the soil improvement, it is not necessarily the best method to increase the farm’s productivity.

Organic method of farming is one of the methods approved as an economic method of farming because it entails the use of locally available manure or even the sewage to cultivate (Francis 250). It does not entail the use of commercially attained chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides.

Another aspect that increases its popularity is the fact that, when used well, it hardly causes any water pollution, hence boosting the efforts of the environmentalist of achieving environmental sustainability through the control of pollution, as well as the achievement of agro-biodiversity.

Organic method of farming causes some effects to the health of the human beings. This happens in cases where the fertilizer in use is the sewage. Sewage harbours a sizeable number of microorganisms, which are extremely lethal to the health of the human beings (Halberg 309). For examples, the plants that have been feeding on the fertilizer may take some of these microorganisms up.

Then on harvest, some of these crops like the vegetables or fruits are eater raw. On consumption, the consumer falls sick due to the acquisition of these microorganisms.

Some of them are known to be thermophillic in that, they need a strong deal of heat for them to be destroyed, so for vegetables that are not cooked thoroughly to preserve nutrients, may contain these microorganisms (Halberg 309). Examples of such organisms are the tapeworms, round worms and the E. coli among others.

The issue of feeding the population does not just involve filling up the stomach. The issue of the nutritional value of what one is feeding on is of paramount importance. Most people believe that the use of the organic method of farming which of course produces organic foods is healthier than the foods produced through conventional method of farming.

However, scientific research proved that the organic fruits, as well as the vegetables, contain exceedingly few agrochemical particles than their counter part of conventional means (Francis 240). Therefore, if the population tend to go for the organic means in comparison to the convention farming may mean that the population will suffer in terms of some nutrients deficiency.

Such a circumstance means that the population will be fed and at a less cost, but with less nutritional valued food. This means that, the organic means of farming is advantageous in one way or another.

Another crucial factor, which makes the organic means of farming unusually favourable, is the fact that it entails an integrated interaction of water, minerals, soil, micro flora, animals, insects, and human beings. It leads to a great deal of production and at the same time achieves environmental sustainability in the form of conservation of the soil (Lotter 34).

This method also involves human resources are locally achieved meaning that, there is no need for anyone to go for any training to achieve satisfactory results. In addition, the method leaves room for crops rotation.

Organic method, in comparison to the conventional methods, yields less production of the crops because, in the conventional methods, there is the application of the synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, and other chemical, which are known to boost the productivity of the farm. However, this conventional method of farming causes significant environmental damage, as well as the health damage.

For instance, the use of the synthetic fertilizers in farming is one of the greatest causes of cancers in the human beings. This happens when there is the issue of bioaccumulation of these chemicals in the plants, then consumed by the human beings later (Halberg 308).

In addition, the issue of environmental damage comes in place when the chemicals used, due to some of their residues, cause harm to the soil meaning that its productivity is minimised. This harm is because of some of the most notable microorganisms in the soil, which aids in soil fertility.

In addition, due to the issue of leaching, the ground water is contaminated which later affects the health of man (Paul 119). Another manner, in which this causes environmental damage, is through the sprayed fertilizers. Some of these aerosols get to the environment. These chemicals, some of them are significant participants to global warming through the green house effect.

Organic farming entails the use of other ways to prevent diseases, weeds, and pests instead of using inorganic chemicals. The following are the ways used in organic farming; use of crop resistant, crop rotation, appropriate cultivation practices, good crop choice and planning, use of predators that eat the pests, use of natural pesticides and increasing use of genetic diversity (Halberg 310).

Organic farming does not necessarily mean use of tradition ways of farming. It uses some of the best traditional ways of farming in combination with the modern ways of farming. Farmers use all the materials, techniques, and knowledge availed by nature to improve the productivity of the farms.

In most cases, organic farmers ensure they only keep the pests, insects, and weeds at a controllable rate to reap the full benefit provided by them (Halberg 308). This method improves productivity in that it entails a combination of more than one technique, which is not harmful to the environmental or human health. For example, careful cultivation in combination with the use of green manure, leads to high productivity.

Organic farming increases food production in that it leads to “long-term fertility of the soil and ensures control of diseases and pest without inflicting harm to the environment” (Thomas 270). It avoids water pollution, involves the use of the resources readily available to the farmer, hence the farmer does not use great resources, and leads to the production of nutritious foods both for human beings and animals.

On the other hand, conventional farming, which entails modern and intensive agriculture, leads to extreme problems. The following are the main challenges: the use of artificial fertilizers causes low organic content matter in the soil easily eroded by the rain and wind (Paul 117).

It leads to serious dependency on artificial and purchased fertilizers. Consequently, the cost of production is high. This means that, even if the production is high, cost of production too is high meaning that, in actual sense, the food production is not increased.

The emerging issue of most farmers shifting to the organic means of farming does not necessary mean that food production increases. However, it is supremely evident that this method of farming known to yield other advantages like cost effectiveness in food production because this organic manure is readily available and even if purchased, it will not cost much.

It controls of soil pollution as well as maintaining the nutritional value of the soil because these manures do not contain any synthetic chemicals harmful to the environment (Paul 115). In addition, by these means, the quality of food produced improves the flavour, the taste, and some essential nutrients.

However, it is one of the methods if combined with the conventional methods is known to cause biological poisoning through a process called bioaccumulation and bio concentration.

This aspect occurs whereby these organic chemicals accumulate in the soil or the environment, like the air, and then the first organism takes them in a certain food chain, before getting to the bodies of the human beings, in a poisonous form. An outstanding example is the uses of the fertilizers in a farm to grow crops. Then, due to runoffs, the chemicals deposited in the rivers or the seas affect the health of people.

Conclusion

Through evidence-based research, report shows that organic farming does not increase the world food supply. It is a favourable means of farming because of its ability to preserve the environment and produce nutritious food (Lotter 40). It is also the best way to eradicate hunger, but it is not the way to increase food production.

This aspect is due to some of the techniques used not only to preserve the soil, but also to enable the arid areas accommodate farming using crop resistance.

Another argument is by the Nobel Peace Price winner and plant breed, Mr. Borlaug Norman, in the year 2002, that organic farming causes starvation because it entails utilization of a large portion of land to produce, as much as conventional ways of farming utilizes, yet the production is less (Lotter 35). He further argued that the greatest human catastrophe in the future is not global warming, but the shift to organic farming.

His reason being that organic farming instead decreases production yet the world population of growing at an alarming rate. This argument gets backing from the US, which shows that some methods of organic farming can produce as much as conventional methods (Paul 111).

The research showed that low production in the use of organic farming happens during the first years of farming because the farm’s soil is still absorbing the nutrients, which takes much time as compared to the use of synthetic fertilizers. A research shows that organic farming is best suitable for the developing countries because it is suitable for their ecological settings (Lotter 29).

Most of the countries are arid and semiarid, and farmers should prevent loss of moisture hence ensuring the crops do not dry up. The emphases on the use of cover crops, manure, compost and increase in organic matter help, in water retention. By doing that, they countries will increase their yield, and as a result, they will be able to feed their large population.

Works Cited

Francis, Charles. Organic Farming: The Ecological System. Canada: ASA-CSSA-SSSA, 2009. Print.

Halberg, Niels. Global Development of Organic Agriculture: Challenges and Prospects. New York: CABI, 2006. Print.

Lotter, Don. “Organic Agriculture.” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 21.4 (2003): 29-40. Print.

Paul, John. “The Uptake of Organic Agriculture: A Decade of Worldwide Development.” Journal of Social and Development Sciences 2.3 (2011): 111-120. Print.

Thomas, Easton. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Environmental Issues Expanded. London: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2009. Print.

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