Published: 11/06/2006 - Updated: 08/13/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
It is customary to hear some critics of the organic agriculture and livestock noted with disdain that organic foods are more expensive than conventional ones. Indeed, today organic foods are generally a 20/25% more expensive than conventional ones. What difference will answer that? Who is to blame? Neither producers nor consumers are responsible. The system is the problem.
Economy and Environment
This is not really correct to say that organic food is more expensive. What happens is that there are conventional foods that the market prices burst. One of the main reasons is that this has to do with the environmental costs of conventional production. Indeed, the global economy and its conventional products do not internalize environmental costs. Speaking of silver, what does this mean? Means that the environmental damage and public health which involves the massive use of pesticides on crops, chemical fertilizers, industrial monocultures, antibiotics and hormones in cattle, inhumane conditions of confinement, additives and coloring … do not meet the producers. Today, we know that some of the very high cancer rates that exist in our society have to do with the use of herbicides and pesticides in conventional agriculture; they reach the consumer through food of all kinds. These biocidal chemicals also pollute the water and enter the food chain of indirect ways, exacerbating public health problems. Various studies relate the toxicity of various pesticides in widespread use in agriculture and industrial diseases, allergies, vulnerability of the immune system, infertility… Furthermore, the use of these synthetic chemicals also affects the fauna and flora of agro-ecosystems. The damage caused by the use of these products is satisfied by the public purse: that is, for all of us. Non-compliance with the requirement that "…the polluter pays principle”, the Administration is subsidizing the production and solving global problems with the money of all consumers, even with those who do not consume products.
A circumstantial case
Another key reason for the organic products being more expensive something is the law of supply and demand. The mass production of manufactured foods which carry out the conventional food industry allows them to reduce costs in production and distribution. The organic producers have a small clientele and the market is still designed for the global economy, not created to benefit small farmers, herders, artisans … The absence of a mass market of "organic" food in our country increases the cost of all those formulas whose production still moves within a sector or semi craft.
In further processed products, the process is similar. For those responsible for the company, Panata which distributes biological mother yeast throughout Spain, if the price of organic bread is more expensive than white bread and/or conventional is for structural reasons: "Although increasing, consumption of bread is still very small in Spain. This means that the mills are small and expensive, and the manufacture and distribution. In addition, if the bread is made with yeast as of single mother ferment, you get a bread of quality nutritionally far superior to conventional white, but the design becomes a high degree of complexity, which makes the product. The development of this product is handmade. "
The outlets of these organic foods are also still very limited, and the consumer must have real consumer desire to move away from even from his home to locate them. This indicates that if the number of outlets increases, consumption also increased and therefore the costs of distribution down to impact directly on the lower prices of final product.
In general, many of the low prices of conventional products in the conventional market are very low quality, both in terms of freshness and processed products. This affects the poor nutritional content. Unlike the use of products, organic foods have less water and more dryness, more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. A comparative study in Denmark concluded that organic food has 10 to 50 times more phytonutrients. Another study by researcher Virginia Worthington argues that organic products have more presence of magnesium, vitamin C, iron and phosphorus.
Returning to the example of bread, Diego Rivera, an expert in organic food production, says that "organic flour is sold complete. I.e. including flour, bran and germ. It is a high quality product very different from conventional industry. Flour power also derived from crops with pesticides, does not include wheat germ. It is therefore logical that there is a difference, especially for the high price of wheat germ in the market." The difference in quality of biological products is higher than the conventional. The difference in prices is also a difference in the health consumer. What a save by buying cheap products were then spent in medical or nutritional supplements.
Most farmers involved in agroecology have small or small-medium farms, especially compared to the farms of big landowners of the agriculture industry. The CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) subsidies, are especially for large firms and large single and not family farms. As reported Jerónimo Aguado, president of Rural Platform, "4% of recipients of aid from the PAC receive 40% of them, representing a whopping 360,000 million pesetas a year old." This benefits employers as the Duchess of Alba, whose coffers are going to stop the funds would be distributed among more family, organic and local farms. For Aguado, "the CAP is a link in the chain that allows the control of the international food system by a handful of multinational industries.”
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Not in all cases, of course, but in general, we can certify that the companies (whether agricultural, farming or manufacturing) devoted to organic production… also perform a social task. Foster, in large measure the local economy (it should be recalled here that the current agricultural model that encourages large monocultures in the hands of large multinational companies, is leading in Europe every minute to close a farm family), cultures that are native and an equitable redistribution of resources. Either case, the organic products industry trade fair is emblematic. Organic agricultural enterprises’ financial system is in the hands of the banking ethics, emerging in our country. These employers are asking their credit and deposit their savings in banks whose funds they are never used to fund projects that are not environmentally and socially ethical.
WHAT IS A BIOLOGICAL FOOD? Without pesticides, without fertilizer and GM should be recalled that in the price of an organic product, there is an added value of character, let us say, moral … The biological agriculture and livestock produce healthy food, rich in nutrients and delicious; protected health of farmers and consumers, preserve the local economy, ensure food sovereignty, fertilize the soil and slow desertification, protect the environment locally and globally, promote water retention and do not contaminate aquifers; encourage biodiversity, maintain the habitats of wildlife, no wasted energy and, therefore, are great aids to stop climate change and possible responses to questions posed by the need for a sustainable future. Do you see little? Who gives more for less?
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