The scientific basis of organic agriculture is agroecology, integrated science that deals with the study of agriculture from a global perspective: considering not only the technical or agricultural, but also other aspects: the social, economic and environmental.
Goal of agroecology is to ensure that agricultural activity from any of the four points of view is considered to be sustainable (able to persist indefinitely in the
time on their own, with minimal external support).
Organic agriculture techniques are the agronomic aspects of agroecology. It applies in order to preserve long-term soil fertility and that the farmer is as self-sufficient as possible, both as fertilizer plant.
The agroecological reasons to oppose the use of conventional farming techniques are not only agronomic, but because, after the world wars, had surplus chemicals and could not absorb other activities, causing problems of desertification, particularly severe in tropical climates when applied techniques developed for temperate climates, as seen in countries that implemented the "green revolution", nor the genetic manipulation applied in agriculture responds to the needs of farmers, but from the viewpoint of agroecological, the strategy of certain large companies to consolidate their position.
Considering the social point of view, that the farmer's work is well regarded socially is also the aim of organic agriculture, and that its production is paid as they should. Another important goal, but probably not the main one, is to provide consumers with safe and nutritious food in sufficient quantity. It is noteworthy that at this point the concept of "nutritious" and "insurance" that guarantees the consumer goes beyond what is formally accepted by the authorities: it is considered harmful content of any pesticide residues in food, although below the maximum residue limits allowed in general on the rules.
The aims of organic agriculture have been defined in its manual by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), which is the non-governmental organization that brings together farmers' associations, research centers and agencies that control dealing with organic farming, are the following, and outline what is meant by sustainability in agriculture:
- Producing food of high nutritional quality in sufficient quantity
- Encouraging and enhancing biological cycles within the agricultural system, involving microorganisms, soil flora and fauna, plants and animals
- Maintaining and increasing long-term soil fertility
- Utilizing to the extent possible, renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems
- Minimizing all forms of pollution caused by agricultural practices
- Maintaining the genetic diversity of the agricultural system and its environment
- Allowing farmers carrying a life consistent with recognized human rights, meeting their needs, securing an adequate income, receiving satisfaction from their work and having a healthy natural environment
- Taking into account the social and ecological system of agriculture