Organic Farming Elsewhere

The last four blog posts have all been about organic farming in Cuba. However, organic farming is practiced all around the globe. This blog post will explain the places around the globe where organic farming is practiced and is just as popular as organic farming in Cuba.

In a 2012 status report, it states that Wisconsin has seen an increase in organic farming by 157 percent from 2002 to 2007. Globally, 87 million acres were farmed under organic management in 2008, representing almost 1.4 million producers in 154 countries. The 2008 USDA Organic Agriculture Census ranks Wisconsin second in total number of organic farms; The census reports 2,714 organic farms in California, which is the top- ranked state, and 1,222 organic farms in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is ranked in the top five for many categories like organic hogs and pigs, organic vegetables and melons, Wisconsin also leads the nation in the number of organic dairy and beef farms with a total of 479 dairy farms and and 109 beef farms. Wisconsin ranks first in the number of farms raising several organic field crops including barley for grain or seed; corn for grain or seed; corn for silage or greenchop; hay; haylage, other silage and greenchop; oats for grain or seed; rye for grain or seed; and winter wheat for grain or seed.

The next area that has an expansion of organic farming is Australia. The earliest history of organic farming in Australia was 1944, says John Paull, who wrote the Journal of Organic Systems. Australia is a leading supplier of sustainable and organic fertilizers, and soil and crop health products. In 1999, there was an increase of popularity of Organic farming and three organic organizations were created: BFA, BDAA and NASAA. BDAA stated that it “trains farmers in Bio-dynamic practices”, and that there are three grades of certification; Grades A and B are produced without “artificial fertilizers or synthetic chemicals”, while for Grade C produce, “a minimum of chemical sprays have been applied.” NASAA stated that it promotes “sustainable agriculture”, and that its “systems exclude or severely restrict the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.” BFA uses the term “regenerative farming” (and neither of “sustainable” nor “organic”), however it states unequivocally that: “Artificial fertilizers, chemically synthesized weedicides, pesticides, fungicides, fumigants and growth promotants are not tolerated” (AQIS 1989).

Along with Australia, India also has a prominent organic farming system in place. The Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI) was set up by the seniormost members of India’s organic farming community in the year 2002. The association was primarily set up to promote organic farming, lobby with government agencies and departments to pay more attention to sustainable agriculture, and assist farmers using chemicals and pesticides to convert successfully to organic farming methods. Similar to Cuba it India had to make the switch to organic farming: During the 1950s and 1960s, the ever-increasing population of India, along with several natural calamities, led to a severe food scarcity in the country. As a result, the government was forced to import food grains from foreign countries. To increase food security, the government had to drastically increase food production in India. The Green Revolution (under the leadership of M. S. Swaminathan) became the government’s most important program in the 1960s. Several hectares of land were brought under cultivation. Hybrid seeds were introduced. Natural and organic fertilizers were replaced by chemical fertilizers and locally made pesticides were replaced by chemical pesticides. Large chemical factories such as the Rashtriya Chemical Fertilizers were established. (Organic Farming in India | Fun Facts).

It is interesting to see how many of these counties/places have practiced organic farming for many years and like Cuba needed to make the switch in order to keep their livelihood.

Works Cited

AQIS, 1989, The Case for a National Approach to Certification of Organically Grown Products, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, Department of Primary Industries and Energy, Canberra, ACT, November.

Deller, S. and D. Williams. “Organic Agriculture in Wisconsin by the Numbers.” 2012 Status Report: 2009. http://www.cias.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/organic-numbers.pdf.

“Organisation – Organic Farming Association of India.” Organic Farming Association of India: 2016. http://ofai.org/organisation/.

“Organic Farming in India | Fun Facts.” 2016. https://www.organicfacts.net/organic-products/organic-cultivation/organic-farming-in-india.html.

Paull, John. “Journal of Organic Systems.” Vol. 3 No. 2: 2008. http://orgprints.org/15089/1/15089new.pdf

 

Final Post – Climate Change

I mistakenly thought that my last post was my concluding one, so this post will be one looking forward towards one of the greatest challenges we will face as a global community: climate change.

Climate change is an issue that threatens human health, the stability of nations, the stability of ecosystems and much more (McMichael 2013). The majority of the scientific community and many major players on a global scale have acknowledged these risks (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015).

USAID has gotten involved and already has instituted programs to help prepare for the problems that have yet to come (USAID 2016). Like other sources, USAID encourages climate mitigation (USAID 2016, McMichael 2013). USAID has also advocated for the preservation of biodiversity, reforestation and securing land tenure rights to help preserve peoples’ livelihoods (USAID 2016).

But is this enough? Some remain skeptical (The Local 2015). In December of 2015, nations from all over the world met in Paris to negotiate some kind of climate agreement to reduce the future potential increase in temperature (The Local 2015, Davenport 2016). Although the climate talks in Paris were widely celebrated, there was still a lot left to be resolved (The Local 2015, Davenport 2016). The U.S. wanted to agreement to be completely voluntary so that the agreement didn’t have to be passed through Congress (The Local 2015). China was concerned about raising the quality of life for its developing nation while still meeting its carbon emissions reductions goals (The Local 2015). The negotiator present form India emphasized that whatever changes were proposed, they should be affordable so that all countries can meet their emissions reductions goals (The Local 2015).

It’s clear that creating an agreement was incredibly challenging (The Local 2015). Many feared a repeated of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Talks that did not have any clear, established and agreed upon path forward (The Local 2015). The way all of these conflicts were solved was by offering countries the opportunity to update their emissions goals every five years (The Local 2015). Many countries fear that reducing or discouraging the use of fossil fuels will harm their economies (The Local 2015, Davenport 2016).

Many assume that reducing carbon emissions will reduce economic growth (Davenport 2016, The Local 2015). This assumption is logical since the U.S. began utilizing fossil fuels at the same time that it started to become a global player (Davenport 2016). However, in the last several years, more than twenty countries have shown that their rate of carbon pollution and rate of economic growth no longer directly correlate (Davenport 2016).

In the United States between 2000 and 2014, carbon dioxide emissions decreased 16% (Davenport 2016). Economic growth increased 9% (Davenport 2016).

Only 21 countries have achieved the same as the U.S. and almost 175 countries haven’t (Davenport 2016). GDP and carbon emissions still positively correlate on a global scale (Davenport 2016).

So what do we do about that? The Paris Climate talks are hoping for no more than a 2C increase in temperature (The Local 2015). Despite this, USAID and other organizations are encouraging preparation and mitigation (USAID 2016, McMichael 2013).

USAID has helped nearly a million people worldwide better manage natural resources in a more sustainable way (USAID 2016). They have also encouraged multiple countries in Africa to strengthen the way they protect land tenure so people have have security in their ability to access natural resources (USAID 2016). More specifically climate change related, USAID has a group of 20 countries working on a project to increase economic growth without increasing emissions (USAID 2016).

It’s clear that no one has come up with the answer to global climate change (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015). However, many organizations are working to do something (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015). Climate change will be a very challenging problem that poses a threat to not just our environment, but the very food on our plates and the stability of our nations (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015). Climate change is one of the future issues we will have to face in International Development and we will have to do so collaboratively, as a compassionate global community (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015).

 


Work Cited

McMichael, Anthony J. “Globalization, climate change, and human health.” New England Journal of Medicine 368.14 (2013): 1335-1343.

USAID. “Environment and Global Climate Change.” USAID. U.S. Agency for International Development, 21 Mar. 2016. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/environment-and-global-climate-change>. 

Davenport, Coral. “Can Economies Rise as Emissions Fall? The Evidence Says Yes.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Apr. 2016. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/upshot/promising-signs-that-economies-can-rise-as-carbon-emissions-decline.html>.

The Local. “After Paris Climate Accord – Now What?” The Local. The Local, 13 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http://www.thelocal.fr/20151213/after-paris-climate-accord-now-what>