Organic production is better for the planet, isn’t it?
The Green Party which advocates for a far more organic production would have us believe it is but University of Waikato professor of agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth says that isn’t so:
. . . People’s first consideration when buying food was price, despite claims they might buy based on factors like organic growth, she said.
While people might think buying organically or from the farmers market was environmentally friendly, research showed carbon dioxide emissions were higher buying that way, Prof Rowarth said.
A lot of so-called environmentally friendly policies, including buying local, organics, and recycling aren’t nearly as green as they’re painted.
Support for them are often based more on emotion than science.
The need for more of the latter was another point Prof Rowarth made:
. . . The future of ensuring the world’s population was nutritionally well fed was incorporating all the best technology, including the strategic use of genetic engineering, she said during a public lecture at the University of Otago yesterday.
There also needed to be a greater research and innovation culture so advances could be made to feed the world’s ever-growing population.
”That is why in New Zealand we need to encourage everybody to become involved in science,” Prof Rowarth said.
The downsizing of the Crown research campus at Invermay and the discussions about making science elective at school in year 11 did not meet that brief, she said.
”Nutrition depends on agriculture which depends on an understanding of the soil.” . . .
Scientific research and advances have and will continue to improve agriculture and nutrition.
There were plenty of examples of how the past few hundred years of science had helped increase the yield from plants and animals, improving human nutrition.
Advances in wheat and milk production were prime examples.
The benefits of this were highlighted in the fact that the percentage of the world’s population that was malnourished had dropped significantly from 34% in 1969 to 17% in recent years, even though the population had grown massively.
”More people are fed to a better level of nutrition. It is a triumph of agriculture.” . . .
A triumph of agriculture based on science and hard work.
Prof Rowarth also dispelled a few modern-day myths on modern food consumption, pointing to literature showing in real dollars food was cheaper than it had ever been, even though it ”didn’t feel like it”.
People could now afford to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, as they were more affordable than ever, and what they should be worried about was their consumption of highly processed foods.
”Back in 1912 you were lucky to get vegetables, maybe a carrot or potato.” . .
Cheaper doesn’t mean cheap but we have a far wider range of food at prices which make the cost of feeding ourselves a lower percentage of most household budgets than it was for previous generations.
An increase in organic production and buying local will reduce yield, choice and increase prices and the environmental worth of such practices isn’t backed up by science.