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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

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Publication | 28 January 2021

What is the contribution of organic agriculture to sustainable development? A synthesis of twelve years (2007–2019) of the “long-term farming systems comparisons in the tropics (SysCom)”

A recurrent controversy related to food systems and their transition toward more sustainability is the ability of organic farming to produce sufficient food for a growing world population. This long-term research from FiBL provides new and interesting insights into this policy issue.

Results from long-term comparative farming systems research of FiBL in Kenya, India, and Bolivia reveal that profitability and productivity of organic agriculture can equal conventional production systems. Furthermore, results show additional benefits of organic farming systems in terms of : i) reduction of pesticide residues in soils, crop products and run-off water, ii) higher concentrations of vital elements in food crops, iii) enhanced flora and fauna diversity and abundance, iv) a reduction of non-renewable energy resources used, and v) increased resilience.

Policy recommendations include: i) appropriately incentivising sustainable farming systems, ii) creating market linkages for diversified production, iii) strengthening capacity building and extension services, and iv) increase research in organic systems.