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Organic Agriculture's Contribution to Sustainability








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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Organic certification of bananas 2017
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    Organic certification is the process whereby a third party certifies compliance with the standards of organic production for a specific crop. The Codex Alimentarius defines organic agriculture as a holistic system of production which promotes and improves the agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It takes into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems, which is achieved by using, when possible, cultural, biological a nd mechanical methods, as opposed to synthetic inputs.
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    Document
    Safety assessment of foods derived from genetically modified microorganisms
    Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Foods Derived from Biotechnology, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland, 24 – 28 September 2001
    2001
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    A Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Foods Derived from Biotechnology – Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Genetically Modified Microorganisms (GMMs) was held at the Headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva from 24 – 28 September 2001. A total of 27 experts, including authors of discussion papers, participated in the Consultation. Ms Ann Kern, Executive Director, Cluster of Sustainable Development and Healthy Environments, opened the Consultation on behalf of Di rectors-General of WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Ms Kern stated that WHO and FAO have been organizing Consultations of this kind since 1990 to provide scientific and technical guidance to Member States and to the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Ms Kern also expressed the appreciation of the two Organizations to the Government of Japan for its generosity in supplying additional funding for this Consultation. She acknowledged the interest of Me mber States in these sometimes hotly debated issues, and the need for sound scientific advice developed and formulated by the Expert Consultations upon which Governments can base their discussions. Clear assessment and communication of scientific data is becoming increasingly important so that the scientific risk assessment process is accurately reflected in the risk management process. Ms Kern suggested that the issues of safety and nutritional assessment of foods derived from biote chnology would be even more important in the near future with the rapid development of new foods with potential benefits related to health.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Comparative Analysis of Organic and Non-Organic Farming Systems: A Critical Assessment of Farm Profitability 2009
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    Organic agriculture has triggered a controversial debate in the last decades, most importantly because it shed light on the darker sides of chemical-intensive conventional farming by offering an alternative. By now, there is a strong body of evidence showing that organic farming is more environmentally friendly: potential benefits from organic production arise from improved soil fertility, organic matter content and biological activity; better soil structure and reduced susceptibility to erosion; reduced pollution from nutrient leaching and pesticides; and improved plant and animal biodiversity (Kasperczyk and Knickel, 2006). As more and more attention has been put on determining whether organic systems are environmentally better or not, it is not clear whether organic agriculture could be economically attractive enough to trigger wide spread adoption. If organic farming offered a better environmental quality, and potentially healthier foods, but not sufficient econ omic returns to the majority of farmers, it would obviously remain a luxury way of food production available to a very tiny fraction of farmers. However, the continued growth of organically managed lands worldwide, especially in developing countries, does not support this hypothesis. The number of studies devoted to the question of how profitable organic agriculture is when compared to non-organic management is over hundred; however long-term studies analyzing the development of prof its in comparative studies are much less numerous. Regrettably, the geographical distribution of these studies is very much biased towards developed countries (mainly U.S.A) and certain cash crops (e.g. corn, soy, wheat). Still, a general trend can be identified when considering economic comparisons made in the last three decades. The aim of this paper is to analyze existing literature on the economic performance of organic versus conventional (defined as non-organic) farms, to determi ne the critical factors for success in the evaluation of organic agriculture in different socio-political settings, and to offer some critical insights into how comparative studies differ. Only studies using data from certified organic farms have been considered, covering a minimum of three years (for developed countries) after conversion and undertaken after 1980 (see Appendix). Due to the lack of availability of long-term economic studies in developing countries, the minimum length r equirement was not taken rigidly and studies covering one and two years have also been included from these countries. Studies evaluating yields and certain production costs, but not analyzing profits were not considered. Although an effort was made to compile as many available economic studies as possible, the list in the Appendix is not exhaustive.

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