The European Commission held an online conference on organic agriculture in developing countries on 27th January. Under the title: ‘A realistic pathway? Evidence from long-term systems research’, the results of 12 years of comparative farming systems research in Kenya, Bolivia and India were presented to provide scientific evidence on economic and ecological sustainability of organic and conventional systems.
The findings illustrate how organic systems and other agroecological approaches can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs aim to end poverty and other deprivations. There is substantial evidence illustrating that dominant agricultural management practices are not sustainable for the future.
Organic agriculture is proposed as an alternative, but its performance under tropical conditions is questioned as long-term studies are scarce. The conference addressed whether organic agriculture is a realistic pathway for smallholders in the Global South and if it can support the transformation of food systems. Furthermore, it addressed some key issues of the SDGs such as responsible consumption and production as well as eliminating poverty and hunger.
The report ‘What is the contribution of organic agriculture to sustainable development? A synthesis of twelve years (2007-2019) of the long-term farming systems comparisons in the tropics (SysCom)’ was launched and the results presented at the conference. Finally, the results were reflected in the view of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) with regards to its work on agroecology.