UN Officials Encourage Organic Farming in Africa

Hoping to address chronic food insecurity, potential threats of environmental degradation, and long-term poverty and economic stagnation, United Nations officials recommended organic agriculture as a major solution to several African nation’s persistent development problems.

Taken as an aggregate whole, the African continent presents a wide variety of economic and developmental challenges. While several African countries enjoy high standards of living and are major economic players, both regionally and globally, many others suffer from chronic economic and political instability.

Chief among many African nation’s economic problems are agricultural shortages. Many nations in the region suffer from chronic food insecurity. Many of these nations are also vulnerable to climate change, making long-term economic and agricultural planning difficult.

At the annual United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, however, several officials suggested that organic farming could provide many major benefits to the larger African economy. “The conference emphasized the importance of food security, sustainable agriculture, and a transition towards a ‘green’ economy. Clearly the subject of this meeting – organic agriculture – can have an important role in achieving sustainable and inclusive development,” said the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Organic farming’s lack of chemical fertilizers and emphasis on local production, UN officials argued, would help insulate African farmers from major price shocks associated with fluctuating demand for cash crops. In addition, the lack of reliance on chemicals could protect and improve the soil, guaranteeing future production capability and limiting serious environmental degradation.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer