Organic Farming Is Rarely Enough
Organic farming is sometimes touted as a way to feed the world’s burgeoning population without destroying the environment. But the evidence for that has been hotly debated. Now, a comprehensive analysis of the existing science, published in Nature, suggests that farming without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides could supply needs in some circumstances. But yields are lower than in conventional farming, so producing the bulk of the globe’s diet will require agricultural techniques including the use of fertilizers, the study concludes.
Crop yields from organic farming are as much as 34% lower than those from comparable conventional farming practices, the analysis finds. Organic agriculture performs particularly poorly for vegetables and some cereal crops such as wheat, which make up the lion’s share of the food consumed around the world.