Organic farming may finally pay its way, research says

A study has suggested that organic farming is much more productive than previously thought and could become more competitive with industrial farming. According to researchers at University of California Berkeley, organic crop yields are only 19.2% lower on average than those from conventional crops, and this margin could be reduced to just 8% if the pesticide-free crops were rotated more frequently. In some crops - especially leguminous plants such as beans, peas and lentils – there was found to be no significant difference in yields. The study comes amid growing concern that intense farming is damaging the environment, with nerve-agent pesticides widely blamed for declining populations of bees and other pollinators. 'With global food needs predicted to greatly increase in the next fifty years, it's critical to look more closely at organic farming because, aside from the environmental impacts, the ability of synthetic fertilisers to increase crop yields has been declining,' said Claire Kremen, professor of environmental sciences, policy and management at Berkeley.


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