On 26th February 2019, 150 people came together in Brussels for the FiBL led workshop “The Contribution of Organic Agriculture to the SDGs: Scientific evidence from comparative research” hosted by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO).
Organic-PLUS team members Dr Stéphane Bellon (INRA, France) and Dr Ulrich Schmutz (Coventry University, UK) brought critical input to the discussion, reflecting on the research results of long-term farming system comparisons (organic versus conventional) in Kenya, India, Bolivia, Ghana and Uganda. A major part of the discussion was around modelling scenarios to radically change food and farming systems based on a recent Nature paper by FiBL’s Muller et al. “Strategies for feeding the world more sustainably with organic agriculture”.
Scaling-up agroecology from the perspective of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (Carolina Starr) and EU parliament (Maria Heubuch, MEP) was another focus. One conclusion was that 100% organic could comfortably feed the world in a 2050 ‘peak population’ scenario and contribute more to SDGs than current systems. However, besides major social and political challenges there are still multiple research needs such as achieving full yield potential in organic systems and fulfilling the world’s fuel and fibre needs in a bio-economy (globally, non-organic cotton accounts for 16% of all insecticide use despite comprising just 2.4% of the total cultivated area).
Links to the presentations are contained in this press release or can be found on Organic Eprints. A recording of the event will remain available on the European Commission’s website for up to one year.