Farming and Agriculture

In a nutshell – the societal benefits of organic farming

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50 per cent less energy use and 50 per cent less nitrate in the groundwater. 30 per cent more species and 10 per cent more carbon in the soil: Organic farming provides many social benefits compared to conventional production. FiBL employees have summarised the benefits in an easy-to-understand report.

15 December 2023, Germany: What has influenced the debate on the social benefits of organic farming in recent years? Which additional environmental benefits does organic farming provide compared to conventional production? These questions are very complex. The answers result from the sum of diverse interactions between different management practices (conservation tillage, use of compost fertiliser, cultivation of legumes) and the local ecosystem.

It is possible to describe and evaluate these differences in a differentiated manner in scientific studies. However, this is not possible in public discussions. Here, it is important to reduce facts to their essentials and provide clear answers. Consumers, for example, want to know whether or not they are contributing to environmental protection by buying an organic product. And political decision-makers ask themselves whether or not agri-environmental policy goals can be efficiently achieved by promoting organic farming or whether another measure would not be better suited for this purpose. FiBL’s recently published report summarises the scientific findings on the topics of “climate protection”, “water protection”, “biodiversity”, “energy”, “health” and “affordability” in a concise manner. In order to use scientific findings with the highest possible informative value, a focus was placed on the results of scientific meta-analyses when selecting the literature.

The project was carried out in close cooperation with the office of the Federal Organic Farming Programme (BÖL) and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The project was funded by the BMEL as part of the BÖL programme.

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