Climate change: A global approach to harmonising productivity with sustainability in farming is needed

October 19th, 2011

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), together with Bio Austria3 and MEP Elisabeth Köstinger organised a public seminar  “Agriculture in times of climate change – Organic farming approaches to face the challenge”, which took place in Brussels yesterday (18 October).

Experts and stakeholders from all over the world discussed the role of food and farming sector and the high potential of organic farming as the key solution to adapt to climate change.

Andre Leu, president of IFOAM, stressed that many studies undertaken by relevant institutions and experts confirm the great potential of organic farmers to build resilient systems that will be able to adapt to climate change. Furthermore, “The conversion to organic methods in African projects even led to a yield increase of 116% on average”, says Leu, and managed soils have significantly increased carbon sequestration capacities, while continuing to be a leading method on overall environmental sustainability. This performance should be recognized at global and EU levels”.

Participants pointed out other numerous benefits that organic farming could bring to agriculture and society, for example the fewer greenhouse gases that it emits and the high resistance to extreme weather, such as droughts and heavy rain. Michaela Theurl, from the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) Austria, said that

“Just by increasing humus-rich topsoil and avoiding energy-intensive mineral fertiliser, a nationwide switch to organic agriculture in Austria could save one million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, approximately 1.2% of the total emissions or 12% of agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions in Austria.”

The conclusions drawn from the seminar were that results that emerge from research and studies should then be implemented in policies.

Read full seminar report