The benefits of using Bio-Agriculture methods in Haiti
Chemical based farming reduces soil carbon.
Over the long term conventional chemical based farming has been shown to decrease soil carbon. In research by the Rodale Institute it was found that "the application of soluble nitrogen fertilizers stimulates more rapid and complete decay of organic matter, sending carbon into the atmosphere instead of retaining it in the soil as the organic systems do."
Restores degraded land
Bio-agricultural farming methods have been proven to halt and reverse soil erosion. In October 2007, the Global Environment Outlook GEO4 of the United Nations Environment Program, reported that: ”Unsustainable land use is causing degradation, a threat as serious as climate change and biodiversity loss. It affects up to a third of the world’s people, through pollution, soil erosion, nutrient depletion, water scarcity, salinity and disruption of biological cycles.”
If unsustainable chemical farming continues at the present rate, the one third of the world’s agricultural land that is already seriously degraded, will increase by a further 40 million hectares by 2050. By then the world’s population will have reached more than 9 billion. Bio-Agricultural farming, especially biodynamic methods, show dramatic soil improvements on dryland soils and on degraded and desertified land.
Bio-agricultural farming methods increase water retention This occurs most significantly during droughts and after storms.
The world grows twice as much food as it did 30 years ago, but uses three times as much water to produce it. Seventy per cent of human water usage is used in agriculture. By 2025 about 60% of humanity could face a disastrous scarcity of water. “Research in Australia has shown that a small increase in soil carbon can increase water stability from 20 percent to 50 or 60 percent.” (Peter Fisher, 2007) Comparative tests show a 15-25% higher water retention rate in organic farming systems and up to 40% higher water retention rate in biodynamic farming systems. Irrigation needs have been reduced by 30-50% through biodynamic systems. Research shows that the increase in soil humus through organic farming systems is proportionally related to the water-holding capacity of the soil. The use of biodynamic methods on many farms in India, has led to spectacular results concerning yield and quality. Irrigation needs for rice were decreased by 30-50%, with increased water holding capacity due to superior soil structure, aeration and drainage, higher organic matter content, soil respiration, more earthworms and a deeper topsoil layer.
Increased Yields for Developing Countries
Evidence from UNCTAD research shows that, in developing countries, organic agriculture can outperform conventional and traditional systems in terms of yields, cost-effectiveness and diversity. These benefits make organic agriculture of particular benefit to poor smallholder farmers, who may otherwise be at risk of food insecurity, indebtedness and malnutrition.
A seven year test of nearly 1,000 farms in Ethiopia, showed that organic farming methods increased yields two to threefold and outperformed chemical fertilizer yields by more than 30%. These results occurred in relation to 14 different crops.
Health and Pollution
Bio-Agricultural farming methods reduce pollution of soil, water, air and food. Exclusion of the use of pesticides, inorganic fertilizers and insecticides, keeps water effluent clean, saving the life of rivers, ground water and the sea.
Only about 50 percent of the nitrogen applied as synthetic fertilizer is absorbed and used by crop plants. As the nitrate content of soil rises, loss of nitrate to surface and ground water can accelerate, especially when fields are subjected to heavy precipitation and/or irrigation. Soils that are high in organic matter, however, retain greater amounts of nitrogen without leaching it to ground and surface water. Fertilizer contamination of water resources poses a threat to both local and regional health. When nitrogen or phosphorus pollutes surface waters, algae grow at an accelerated rate. Excessive algae, or algal blooms, cloud surface waters and prevent sunlight from reaching native underwater grasses. In addition, algal blooms rob water of oxygen which kills fish,
Studies have shown that on average, organic food has higher vitamin C, higher mineral levels and higher plant phenolics – plant compounds that can fight cancer and heart disease, and combat age-related neurological dysfunctions – and significantly less nitrates, a toxic compound. (ISP report)