Organic vs conventional row must stop
THE organic and conventional farming lobbies have been urged to put their differences behind them and stop bickering over which system is best to meet the global food challenge.
Speaking at the launch of the Government-backedForesight Report on Food and Farming Futures, one of its lead authors said it was vital theindustry moved away from the ‘our system is better than yours’ arguments which have plagued the industry.
Jules Pretty, pro-vide chancellor at the University of Essex, said the challenges of food security could be met using both conventional and organic methods and that farmers now needed to work together.
He said: “Both organic and conventional farming are going to be important, but not on their own. We need to get away from the arguments that have set them against each other.
“The challenges are going to be enormous and we will need actions from everybody across the food chain.”
His comments came after the report called for a ‘sustainable intensification’ of global agriculture which would see farmers increase food production without having an adverse effect on the environment.
It called for a radical change to global agriculture policy, warning without a rethink billions of people could be facing hunger as food prices rise and resources become increasingly scarce.
But while backing technology and the use of controversial technology such as GM and cloning to meet those challenges, the report also acknowledged that existing knowledge and innovations currently being used in both organic and conventional agriculture had a role to play.
Mr Pretty said: “All technologies can contribute to meeting these challenges – you can’t have an agricultural revolution without seeds and breeds.”
The report also sought to address the issue of consumer power and called on Governments to give shoppers more information about the food they buy to help them make sustainable choices.
This, its authors said, does not mean advising people to ‘go vegetarian to save the planet’ as some reports have in the past, but could be achieved by educating consumers on the benefits of a balanced diet.