100% Organic food for everybody!

Significant hidden cost in conventional productionfield_sekem_farm_adleya

 

The introduction of new technologies had led the agricultural sector to tremendous growth. But the related cost, though sometimes hidden is significant. Prominent effects of intensive agriculture is top soil depletion, groundwater pollution and scarcity, increasing cost of production and socio-economic instability.

 

Organic agriculture requires less resources

 

Organic agriculture recently has gained importance, because under the current situation soil organic matter (SOM) plays a key role in sustainable agriculture in terms of ecology and farm economics. Egypt’s agriculture is highly determined through climate change and water availability. The Nile valley and delta is the area where intensive use of agriculture land takes place for many years but in the last 20 years the Egyptian government has promoted heavily the expansion of agricultural land into the “Newlands” located in the desert. Land reclamation of areas is still to be continued. There are mainly seven strategic important crops in Egypt’s agricultural sector: cotton, maize, potatoes, rice, sugarbeet, sugarcane and wheat. A decline in soil fertility and yield have increased especially in intensive agriculture but did not decrease the socio-economic instability but also increased the burden of subsidies on the Egyptian government.

 

No subsidies, but improving the soil

 

On contrary organic agriculture as an alternative farming system is rising in the Egyptian agriculture. The agricultural inputs in organic farming systems are not subsidized, but they have improved the soil structure, maintained water quality, increased soil organic matter, increased biodiversity and gradually increased the yields and decreased the total cost to produce one tonnes of any crop.

 

The Egyptian agriculture will also face impacts related to climate change such as rising sea levels, higher temperatures, a decrease in arable land and more water requirements to for produce crops. As Egypt is a unique country as almost 95% of the water comes from outside the country, climate change also affecting other countries may possibly affect the water availability in Egypt.

 

100% Organic study for Egypt

 

OSoil & More International conducted a study with the aim to know which agriculture practices organic or business as usual conventional will be more sustainable, both ecological and economical in the future. The indicators used for the study are 1) carbon and water footprints, 2) farm economics.

 

The results showed clearly that in long term, if farming systems continues as business as usual it will be unaffordable and inefficient for a country like Egypt where there is a lack of natural resources with an increasing population. For the long term, sustainable or organic agriculture systems should be practiced and soil organic carbon plays an important role to bring efficiency into the farming system. The carbon footprint in organic farming systems would be much lower than in business as usual systems for all 7 strategic crops growing in both old land and new land. The total water footprint is higher in the business as usual in all 7 strategic crops than under organic farming systems which means that organic requires less water to produce a tonne of crop production than business as usual farming systems.

 

Read the summary of the study here

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