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Organic food 'will not help the poor' - FAO

Organic agriculture will not provide food security for the world's poor, the FAO has announced. Rejecting claims that the organisation endorses organic farming as a solution to world hunger, Director-General Dr Jacques Diouf has stated that while there is a place for organics in world agriculture, it is not sufficient on its own. He said: "We should use organic agriculture and promote it... but you cannot feed six billion people today and nine billion in 2050 without judicious use of chemical fertilisers."

Dr Diouf's comments echo the World Bank's World Development Report 2008, which identifies low fertiliser use as one of the major constraints on agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa, where over 800 million people live in abject poverty. However, Dr Diouf called for chemical inputs to be used carefully and in conjunction with chemical-free systems such as Integrated Pest Management. In 2005 over 30 million hectares - around two per cent of the world's farmland - was dedicated to organic production worth around US$24bn.

Date published: January 2008


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