Introduction to Organic Agriculture Einführung in die ökologische Landwirtschaft Introducción a la Agricultura Ecológica

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Introduction to Organic Agriculture

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Introduction to Organic Agriculture

Speaking today about organic agriculture is a rapidly growing activity. A production system associated with such elements currently estimated as respect and conserving the environment or food quality and safety meeting the challenge of society to advance the framework of sustainability. Because, in recent years, sustainable development has become one of the main paradigms of contemporary societies. Utopia or metaphor, we are shown as an ideal to be tender, although its formulation (that development could meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs), a simple but vague, has to give shape through practical actions in all our fields.

The rapid changes of recent decades have resulted in an entirely different relationship between man and the land that feeds him. The relentless urbanization has spread much of the rural population of our parents and grandparents, the field of freedom and of the close relationship with nature, but also the field of want and misery in times of famine. For many today, the field seems far off, although it runs through the highways and road trains. And yet, our society, increasingly urban, cannot ignore agriculture for food.

During the past century, progress in agriculture techniques has allowed meet our growing demands for food, both in quantity and quality in this sense, we should not evade the gratitude owed to technological advances and knowledge. But in turn, have committed excesses, we must learn from our mistakes in order to restore our relationship with the environment.

What is our starting point? 

On the one hand, we worry more and more the health of our environment. Secondly, we cannot ignore our obligation to promote the progress and development for all. We must respond to both needs through imaginative proposals but effective. The concept of sustainability, as we said, we should guide, but its diffuse must seek concrete solutions.

Another, perhaps more temporary, but of enormous significance, is related to the situation of agriculture and livestock in the EU framework. After several reforms, the CAP is facing new challenges: surplus production, food security, globalization of markets and regulations of WTO, etc. In a scenario of increasing uncertainty, the environmental variable has acquired great prominence in EU policy, as has been reflected in Agenda 2000. Along with this, not forgetting the demands ever greater, quality and food safety by consumers, heightened, no doubt, by recent crises.

In this context, organic agriculture and livestock appear as one of the ways that can help steer our future towards this more sustainable tomorrow.

An organic agriculture that is both current but old. Ever, because our farmers had to rebuild all or nearly all, elements of production on their holdings to ensure their survival first, then, to take some surplus to sell.

But the agriculture and livestock is also modern and innovative because it feeds on the scientific knowledge accumulated over the past century. What once was by tradition if not by intuition, it is now knowingly. And it applies to do before but meeting new goals: to achieve good yields, get new products. Because organic produce must not be identifiable with minors (although yields may be) or a loss of organoleptic quality.

At a time where change is the norm, organic agriculture seeks to show that another task is possible. A livestock and agriculture, on the other hand, restores the relationship, are dying out, the man with nature, and since large segments - when it comes to naming agroecological approach - is running as an instrument of dignity and solidarity. Because for some, organic agriculture remains an alternative approach to current economic system, so its ideological component and progress beyond the legitimate economic purpose.

And if that were not enough, the production is in the best position to make proposals appealing to consumers based on product quality in a market predisposed to it.

(...) Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production and its indication in agricultural products and foodstuffs, consider organic agriculture as one that meets basic principles of production that includes its Annexes I and III. Annex II contains the list of plant protection products, detergents, fertilizers or soil conditioners can be used, and may be used only under the specific conditions laid down in Annexes I and II and to the extent that is authorized for use in the Member State's general agriculture.

Moreover, the concept of organic agriculture in the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) is much wider. In Annex 1 of this document sets out the definition, based on 17 principles are equally important among them include: the use of renewable resources, achieving greater food quality, enhancing biological cycles, reducing pollution, maintainig genetic diversity, allowing those involved in the production and processing live a life consistent with the Declaration of Human Rights of the UN, etc.

Additionally, the Alimentarius Codex Commission defines organic agriculture as a global system of production management that promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil with biological activity. It recommends the use of best management practices that the use of farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is achieved by applying, wherever possible tariffs, export subsidies and trade, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to perform any specific function within the system.

For certain sectors of society, organic agriculture is not just a particular mode of production or processing of certain products, but was incorporated into a broader concept called Agro-ecology. This concept appears as a new paradigm of knowledge, as it is conceived as a theoretical and methodological approach to study farming from an ecological perspective, analyzing together all elements of agricultural processes: mineral cycles, energy transformations, the biological processes and socioeconomic relationships. But Agro-ecology is not only an epistemological concept, but can be considered to have a technical dimension to address the agricultural production of an alternative to the fees set by the so-called conventional agriculture *.

* Adapted from Guzmán Casado, G., M. González de Molina & E. Sevilla Guzmán (2000). Introduction to Agro-ecology and sustainable rural development. Mundi Prensa, Madrid, page 85.

Without prejudice to the validity of these broader concepts in what follows for the purposes of this Plan will be considered as agriculture only that which follows the provisions of Regulation 2092/91 mentioned in the beginning. It must also be clear that it will be a regular in this document the term "Agriculture" following the common sense of this word, which covers both the agricultural and livestock to.

Origins and development of organic agriculture

Although the origin of modern organic agriculture is usually placed in Austria in 1924 in Spain was not introduced, and it did timidly, until the seventies. During the eighties was linked mainly to environmental groups and alternative movements that made organic agriculture a largely ideological cause. This first stage corresponds to the years of a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with very focused goals in the production, whose "success" led to the problems of surplus production inland calls (milk, beef, cereals).

In the European Union level, the Commission Green Paper of 1985 was the precedent that marked a new approach to try to resolve the problems arising from intensive agricultural uses. This document spoke of maintaining agriculture capable of ensuring environmental conservation in its socio-economic and biological aspect. In 1986 it began a political recognition of organic agriculture, adopted the Program of Support for European Agriculture.

Organic production is legally regulated in Spain since 1989, when it adopted the Rules of generic name "Organic Agriculture" and its Regulatory Board. This was applied until the entry into force on 1 January 1993, the Royal Decree 1852/1993, which moved to the Spanish legislation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production and indications for products agricultural and food products. From that date the provisions of the prevailing community standard.

Since Regulation (EC) No 2092/91 begins third phase, lasting for the consolidation of this model of production, in so far resulted in the unification of production and control criteria. With the subsequent reform of the CAP in 1992, emphasis is in the care and respect for the environment as a basic pillar of it. In addition, it endorsed the responsibility of society in caring for the environment, recognizing the critical role played by farmers in the conservation and management of landscapes and agricultural systems.
Nationally, the decree 1852/93 on organic production and its indication in agricultural products and foodstuffs, established the legal basis for the autonomous communities take control of such production, according to the established in the EU regulation.

Following the regulation of the generic name "Organic Agriculture" Territorial Committee was established in Andalusia. Andalusia Autonomous Community was the first instrument to acquire own. This committee would later become the Andalusian Committee for Organic Agriculture, decentralized and consultative organ of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, who were assigned the tasks of certification and control established by Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91.

In the framework of Regulation (EC) No 2078/92 on agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of protecting the natural environment, the national administration, a system of aid for organic production accounted for final endorsement to the expansion of this sector.

With Agenda 2000, which has strengthened and expanded EU environmental policy, have remained those aids to organic production within the measures "OA", including Regulation (EC) No 1257/99 that unifies all rural development support.

The development of organic agriculture is not restricted to regulatory route discussed

European protection has largely standardized the initiatives relating to organic production, but we must not forget the existence of other avenues of articulation and demonstration of initiatives related to organic production, responding in most of the cases to a greater demand for part of certain social sectors.

Source: Plan Andaluz de Agricultura Ecológica of the Junta de Andalucia

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Tags: agroecology organic organic farmers organic food

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2 Reviews about Introduction to Organic Agriculture

avatar4rating
on 04/10/2014
Interesting information. I would be interested in hearing more about this "agro-ecology", and seeing if something similar exists within the united states. It is really obvious and apparent that Spain is placing a heavy emphasis on organic agriculture and sustainable growing pracitces, and I whole heartedly support this genuine effort. Way to go!
avatar4rating
on 04/03/2014
Spain is one of the main countries when you think about the organic growth worldwide, it is one of the biggest example but that is not enough we should fight until the whole agriculture is under the organic term, and soon this will happen if we all help especially buying and consuming to help the farmers

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