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Thursday 17 May 2012

Organic Food ‘Unaffordable in EU’ Just 1.9% of Food Expenses

Organic Food 'Unaffordable in EU' Just 1.9% of Food Expenses
While in EU 4.3% of cultivable area (UAA in EU) is put under Organic Farming the value of Organic Foods consumed is barely 1.9% - this includes Organic Foods imported from developing countries, in spite of higher prices charged for organic foods – this represents 60% to 65% overall productivity loss, Denmark Government sponsored study indicated massive Farm Productivity and Economic Losses way back in 1999. Yet Dubious Farm Leaders mislead Indian Farmers. When EU can't afford 'Organic Foods,' how is that Organic Foods that too on small scale is promoted in India.
- depends on consumer preferences
A sensitivity analysis has also been carried out in which changed consumer
preferences in the export markets are assumed, corresponding to a price
premium of 10% on milk and 20% on pork. This analysis has only been
carried out for 15-25% feed import and improved practice. The analysis
shows that this would reduce private consumption by about DKK 500 per
capita per year and that the GNP would be reduced by DKK 8.5 billion per
Going by above per capita loss of DKK500 is Rs.4650 – at this rate loss toIndia shall be Rs.5,50,000 crores approx. But while Denmark could afford to Import 'Grains and Grasses to feeds its cattle and animals' India can't afford such imports and such losses would mean wide spread Famine and Deaths.
[The Bichel Committee said an organic farming mandate would slash Danish grain production by 62 percent, cut pork and poultry production by 70 percent, and reduce potato output by 80 percent. Virtually overnight, Denmark would cease to be a country producing an abundant, high-quality food supply for its own population, plus billions of dollars worth of high-value farm exports (pork, cheese, frozen French fries) for sale to the rest of the world.]
India is experiencing 'Hunger and Famine' where 'Organic Farming Lobbyists' Krishan Bir Chaudhary, Vandana Shiva, Devinder Sharma, Pushp Bhargava are active.
Ravinder Singh
May17, 2012
Few highlights on the EU organic sector
·         The organic sector amounts to an estimated 7.6 mio ha in 2008, i.e. 4.3% of EU-27 utilised agricultural area (UAA). In the period 2000-2008, the average annual rate of growth was 6.7% in the EU-15 and 20.0% in the EU-12;
·         The area under organic agriculture is close to or higher than 9% of the total UAA in five Member States: the Czech RepublicEstoniaLatvia,Austria (15.5%) and Sweden;
·         In 2008, it is estimated that there were about 197 000 holdings involved in organic agriculture in the EU-27, i.e. 1.4% of all EU-27 holdings (0.6% in the EU-12 and 2.9% in the EU-15);
·         Consumer food demand grows at a fast pace in the largest EU markets, yet the organic sector does not represent more than 2% of total food expenses in the EU-15 in 2007. In the EU-12 organic food consumption stands at lower levels.
In the EU-27 organic areas amounted to an estimated 4.3% of the UAA in 2008.
Corresponding figures for the EU-12 and EU-15 were 2.8 and 4.9%. Whereas the growth of the share of the organic area in the EU-15 seemed to slow down in 2003 and 2004, it has resumed in the last four years (2005-2008). The EU-12 has experienced a dynamic increase, with a sharp increase in 2005 that can be attributed to the accession to the EU. With a share of 15.5%, Austria is the Member State where the importance of the organic sector in the total UAA is the highest. Sweden and Estonia follow with 10.9% each. The Czech Republic and Latvia are at a par with 9.0 and 8.9% respectively.
Table 8 provides indications on the size of the organic market in most EU Member States. Missing data do not allow to provide the total for the EU-27. However, for the EU-15 the organic sector corresponds to 1.9% of household food expenses (household catering and restaurant consumption excluded). Organic food expenses in the EU-15 reached €14.4 billion in 2006/2007, of which more than 80% in four Member States only: Germany, the United KingdomFrance and Italy. The organic food market is sizeable in Austria(almost 5% of the food market) and in GermanyDenmark and Luxembourg(where it stands within 3.7-3.8%). In the EU-12 Member States for which data are available, the significance of the organic sector in food consumption is much lower, below 0.2% for most and reaching the maximum of 0.5% in theCzech Republic. It is estimated (IFOAM, 2008) that the EU-12 would represent 2% of total organic food sales at the EU level. Although the paucity of data at the consumer end of the organic supply chain prevents a comparison of the dynamics of organic production and consumption in the EU-12, the development of consumption seems to benefit from lower levels of growth than the one of production. This may imply some difficulties for producers to sell their products and may endanger the sustainability of the overall sector. The awareness of consumers regarding organic products counts among critical factors for the development of the market. Yet the overarching constraint to market growth is the purchasing power of the consumers.
Danish Government Report Says Organic Farming Is Not Practical
Posted on July 16, 2002
CHURCHVILLEVA A Swiss organic research farm recently announced in the journal Science that organic farming is practical because its organic crop yields over 21 years were only 20 percent smaller than the yields from its conventional plots.
Well, maybe. But government officials in Denmark don't agree.
A couple of years ago, the Danes appointed a top-level technical committee, the Bichel Committee, to assess the impact of imposing organic farming on all Danish farms. The Bichel Report didn't get much press at the time, perhaps because the results were so embarrassing to all the politically correct folks who love to hate modern high-yield farming.
The Bichel Committee said an organic farming mandate would slash Danish grain production by 62 percent, cut pork and poultry production by 70 percent, and reduce potato output by 80 percent. Virtually overnight,Denmark would cease to be a country producing an abundant, high-quality food supply for its own population, plus billions of dollars worth of high-value farm exports (pork, cheese, frozen French fries) for sale to the rest of the world.
Instead, Denmark would barely be able to feed itself. Danish consumers would be forced into lower-quality diets, with far less pork, poultry, and potatoes. Denmark's current export customers would have to find new sources of supply, perhaps clearing millions of acres of their forests for additional farmland.
Only Denmark's dairy production would survive the organic shift with its output virtually intact because dairy cows eat grass.
Denmark would have lots of grass under an organic regime. But Denmarkwould not revert to the green, cattle-dotted pastures of the olden days. Actual pasture area would be cut in half. Instead, the new feed production system would require a 34 percent increase in fodder beet area and a 160 percent increase in grass in rotation. These crops would be chopped in the field and hauled to the cows in their cement feedlots. Otherwise, even Denmark's dairy production would be cut substantially.
The biggest reason for the lower yields of organic farms is not that organic fields suffer more from weeds and insects than conventional fields though they do. The organic mandate's biggest disadvantage is that much ofDenmark's farmland would have to be shifted from grain and food crops to grass and hay to for the cattle to produce enough manure to maintain soil fertility.
The manure from the Danish cattle feedlots would have to be spread across all its farm fields in order to maintain soil productivity. Cattle manure would become Denmark's biggest and most important farm product.
Dr. Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba, a noted expert on nitrogen, says America would need another 900 million cows to replace the 11 million tons of inorganic N we currently take from the air. The cows would need virtually all of our farm and forestland for forage, leaving our citizens without food or national parks.
Plants can't  grow without nitrogen. But organic farmers refuse to use nitrogen taken from the air, which is 78 percent N; they claim that inorganic N poisons the soil. (This is, of course, utter nonsense.) Test plots at England's Rothamsted experiment station have been growing wheat with inorganic fertilizer for 158 straight years now and are getting twice the wheat yield the Swiss organic researchers recently reported in Science. When will the soil poisoning set in?
The Swiss organic farming researchers not only got half the Rothamsted yield when they grew wheat, but they could grow wheat only three years out of seven, because of the need to rebuild soil nitrogen with grass and legume rotation crops.
Why are we supposed to want this organic food so urgently?
Canadian researchers at the University of Guelph have just tested organic and conventional foods again and found no significant nutritional differences.
The pesticides the organic farmers use are just as dangerous as the pesticides used by high-yield farmers, which is not very dangerous at all. (We encounter 10,000 times more natural pesticides in our fruits and vegetables than we get from farmers pesticide residues.) But organic farmers use pyrethrum, which the EPA now rates as likely human carcinogen, and their copper-based fungicides are toxic to most living things. In addition, organic food may have a higher risk of contamination from the dangerous pathogens that lurk in manure.
The Bichel Committee report makes it clear from the highest levels of a sophisticated European government that a shift to organic farming would lower people's standards of eating and force us to clear far more wildlife habitat for farming. In return, we would get a manure landscape.
What a deal!
DENNIS T. AVERY is a senior fellow for Hudson Institute in Indianapolis and the Director of the Center for Global Food Issues. He was formerly a senior policy analyst for the U.S. Department of State. Readers may write him at Post Office Box 202ChurchvilleVA 24421

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