In today’s world where consumerism is the daily life, awareness about the care of our health and ecological awareness, have come to contribute to the search for new production options, food and why not, our lifestyle: food organic.
Emergence in response to an agro-industrial movement
Many people do not know where this new movement of food and organic products comes from. Believe it or not, arose in the decade of the 40’s in the United States, before the industrialization of agricultural production through the use of synthetic products, pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides, in order to increase agricultural productivity.
However, the production and sale of organic foods has resumed boom in recent decades, mainly in Europe, countries in North America such as the United States and Canada, as well as Asian nations such as Japan and more recently, Latin America.
What we need to know about organic food
What should we really know about organic food?
When we speak of organic food, we refer not only to agricultural products but also to livestock and avian products and their derivatives.
According to a study by the Royal Institute of Technology in Melbourne, organic products improve health by reducing the level of harmful chemical agents in the blood by up to 89%.
According to studies, among the benefits of this type of food, is its contribution to health, since pesticides, insecticides and synthetic additives, used in non-organic production, are related to health problems such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer, birth defects, diseases of the nervous system, neurological problems and cognitive functioning, heart disease, premature aging, among others.
However, when we go to buy vegetables or food, the first thing that draws our attention is the presentation of the product (color) and then the taste. The transgenic production and its use of preservatives, hormones and other chemical additives focused on the mass production and more resistant products and longer life, however it loses a great deal of percentage of taste and color of the products.
Organic foods consumed, according to other studies, interact with different vitamins, minerals and compounds that prevent the aforementioned diseases and contribute to the improvement of the immune system, by containing higher levels of vitamin C, essential fatty acids of Omega 3 that are found by example in yogurt and cheese made with organic milk, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and others.
For example, according to studies from the University of Newcastle in England, milk and organic meat contains 50% more fatty acids of Omega 3 and agricultural products under organic cultivation up to 69% more antioxidants.
A commitment to the Environment
Organic production is friendly to the environment and helps to combat climate change and pollution of the planet, through the minimization of soil contamination, since it is not necessary to use non-renewable energy sources, as is the case with large-scale cultivation. In addition, many practices used by organic agriculture, such as minimum tillage, the return of crop residues to the soil, the use of plant cover and rotations and other practices that contribute to nitrogen fixation and increase carbon return to the ground, which increases productivity and favors carbon storage.
Environmental movements promote consumption of organic products and demand for the climate, arable land and biodiversity of the planet, the implementation of changes in “international, national and local agrarian policy”, as expressed by the International Federation of Movements for Agriculture Organic (IFOAM).
Organic trend worldwide
With this type of crop / production there is water saving through intelligent irrigation and as indicated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), well-managed organic systems, with better capacities to retain nutrients, they greatly reduce the danger of contamination of groundwater, suggesting this type of agriculture as a means of restoring the environment (for example, by the governments of France and Germany).
However, the boom in the consumption of these products has generated a new economic movement, creating varieties and generating business from it, as small businesses / producers and restaurants that are expanding every day in the countries. Likewise, the increase in consumption means that organic products aimed at markets such as the European Union must be certified, in order to guarantee their consumers the organic origin of food and beverages. This certification must indicate that the products contain no less than 95% organic ingredients.
According to FAO information, more than 50.9 million hectares are used worldwide for organic production. As for countries, every day more nations are involved in this new trend and global trade that represented in the year 205 some US $ 81.6 billion. Australia leads the way with some 12 hectares followed by Argentina with some 3 million hectares, leading the production and consumption in Latin America, although it consumes only 5% of its own production, which is of vegetable and animal origin.
However, individually, there are almost 3 million organic producers. India is still the country with the largest number of producers with more than 585,200, followed by Ethiopia with 203,602 and Mexico with more than 200,039. According to information from the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FIBL) contained in its statistical yearbook “The world of organic agriculture” (The World of Organic Agriculture 2017), despite a decline in consumption of organic products in the last year there are currently more farmers growing organically, there are more lands certified and 179 countries report activities of this type of agriculture.
The destinations of exports have changed in recent years. Initially, Europe was the main destination for organic exports, as local farmers do not cover the growing demand for their organic products, followed by the United States and Japan. However, in 2015, for example, the United States was established as the main market for these products, followed by Germany, France and China.
Consumption in Latin America continues to have challenges, especially in the absence of consumer information on the risks of certain traditional agricultural procedures for human health; to the insufficient presence of these products in mass distribution channels; to the lack of local policies to stimulate production; as well as the scarce competitiveness of such products (more expensive than conventional ones) in markets with lower income populations per capita than European consumer leaders.
Therefore, the consumption of organic food is not only a new lifestyle and health but also a new movement worldwide. The production and consumption of organic food takes into account the health benefits, commitment to the environment and contribution to climate change and, mainly in Latin America, has become a way to contribute to the strengthening of small businesses or companies, although they lack to establish mechanisms of governmental support of production and commercialization.