Join the OFA


This special February edition of Organic Update features two important sets of information:
Patrick Holden is in Australia
Patrick Holden, Director of the Soil Association UK, will be speaking in Sydney on February 5&6 on organic agriculture and climate change. The times and venues are in the Events section of this newsletter.
Organic Agriculture Can Feed the World
Best practice organic agriculture can get better yields than conventional agriculture. This newsletter features four credible studies showing higher yields particularly in the drier years that are predicted to increase with climate change.

Best Regards,

Andre Leu


United Nations Study - Organic Agriculture Increased Yields by 116%
The report by the United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that organic agriculture increases yields in Africa. ‘…the average crop yield was … 116 per cent increase for all African projects and 128 per cent increase for the projects in East Africa.’

The report notes that despite the introduction of conventional agriculture in Africa food production per person is 10% lower now, than in the 1960s.

‘The evidence presented in this study supports the argument that organic agriculture can be more conducive to food security in Africa than most conventional production systems, and that it is more likely to be sustainable in the long term.’ Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary general of UNCTAD and Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP stated.

Source: Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, Sept 2008.

US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Pecan Trial

The ARS organically managed pecans out-yielded the conventionally managed, chemically fertilized Gebert orchard in each of the past five years. Yields on ARS' organic test site surpassed the Gebert commercial orchard by 18 pounds of pecan nuts per tree in 2005, and by 12 pounds per tree in 2007. Source: US Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

The Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trials
The Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trials found that organic yields were higher in drought years and the same as conventional in normal weather years.

In years with wet weather in the spring the organic yields can suffer when mechanical cultivation of weeds is delayed and were found to be 10% lower. This could be corrected by using steam or vinegar for weed control, rather than tillage.

The researchers attributed the higher yields in dry years to the ability of soils on organic farms to more quickly take in rainfall. This is due to the higher levels of organic carbon, making the soils more friable and better able to store and capture rain.

Source: Organic and Conventional Production Systems in the Wisconsin Integrated Cropping...Posner et al. Agron J.2008; 100: 253-260

Scientific Review by Cornell University into 22 year-long Rodale Field Study
The scientific review found:
• The improved soil allowed the organic land to generate yields equal to or greater than the conventional crops after 5 years
• The conventional crops collapsed during drought years.
• The organic crops fluctuated only slightly during drought years, due to greater water holding capacity in the enriched soil.
• The organic crops used 30% less fossil energy inputs than the conventional crops.
Source: Pimentel D et al (2005), Environmental, Energetic and Economic Com.


Special Guest - Patrick Holden CBE
Director of the Soil Association, the lead organic food and farming organisation in the UK. Patrick is one of the most influential speakers in Europe advocating for a foundational shift in how we produce our food. He is a charismatic and passionate speaker and his perspective focuses on the solutions to the many problems. Patrick also owns an organic dairy and vegetable farm in Wales and he works closely with the Prince of Wales who is a passionate advocate for organic food and farming.


You can't eat a Scorched Earth! - Climate change and food security - time is running out and what organic agriculture has to offer. Speakers :- Patrick Holden CBE and Scott Kinnear

Thursday 5th February 2009, 5.45 pm for 6.00 pm - 7.15pm

NSW Teachers Federation, 23 - 33 Mary St, Surry Hills, Sydney
RSVP for indication of numbers
Register attendance with Catriona Macmillan catriona@otacnet.com.au
Tel: 02 9365 7668

Organic Business Breakfast with: Patrick Holden – CBE
You are invited to a breakfast briefing on Friday 6th February 2009.
This briefing will focus on global food challenges and the role that the organic industry can play.

Where: Pavillion on the Park Cafe located at The Domain, 1 Art Gallery Road, SYDNEY.
Time: 8.30 am to 10.30 am
Places strictly limited. Please RSVP by midday 5th February directly to
scottkinnear@bigpond.com - please indicate your food preference.

The Organic Federation of Australia (OFA) runs Australian stands at 3 international trade shows, at no profit, to assist producers who want to sell their products to buyers around the world.
These are Biofach in Europe, Natural Products Expo Asia in Hong Kong and All things Organic in Chicago, USA. The OFA chose these shows, as they are the ones that will give producers the most exposure in the major organic markets around the world.

BIOFACH, Nuremberg, Germany, February 19 –22, 2009
BioFach is the world’s largest organic trade fair. More than 2,600 exhibitors presented their products to 46,484 trade visitors from 116 countries at BioFach 2008. Biofach represents a wonderful opportunity for organic producers to showcase their products to the world. Buyers from around the world converge on Biofach. A significant number of buyers come from Europe. At $25 billion, this is the world’s largest organic market. Europe imports a significant proportion of its organic food.
Biofach is the largest trade show for organic cosmetics and bodycare with buyers from around the globe looking for good products. The organic cosmetic exhibitors at the OFA stands in 2008 and 2007 generated excellent business.
If you are interested please contact:
Cathrine De Danann, Secretariat OFA
Email: dedanann@aapt.net.au
Telephone 02 6655 1037
The OFA makes no profit and organises these events as a service to industry.

Organic Update is a publication of the Organic Federation of Australia
Phone +61 1300 657 435
PO Box 369 Bellingen NSW 2454 Australia
Join the OFA
Subscribe to the Organic Update