Europe and international, International

“Why is Organic Agriculture so neglected by Organic Advocates?” (T Daynard, Canada)

08 Sep 2014

Under this title, Terry Daynard, Ontario (Canada) grain farmer and former University of Guelph crop science professor, tells the story of his surprising experience at a recent organic conference in Guelph, Ontario.

There were two very different conferences – both at the same time and place.

In one room were the organic growers, marketers and advisers. The meeting was “a goldmine of solid information and advice – all about managing practical problems, like weeds (the biggest problem), diseases and insects, soil fertility, marketing, preserving quality and more”

In the other were the advocates: “The topics and tenor were totally different. Speaker after speaker boasted about organic agriculture being “pesticide free.” […] No mention of the Health Canada-registered organic pesticides, copper sulphate and rotenone. (I’m told the Canadian supplier of rotenone has stopped marketing it, perhaps because of possible linkages to Parkinson’s. But it is still on the Canadian list of approved organic products. Curiously, when organic advocates emphasize links between Parkinson’s and pesticides – as they frequently do – they never mention that the pesticide with the strongest link is organic.).
But opposition to pesticides was nothing like the venom directed at GM technology. Indian activist, Vandana Shiva, who condemns the Green Revolution and who recently compared farmers using GM crops to rapists, was praised by a spokesperson for the Organic Council of Ontario as an agricultural visionary. The discredited work of French researcher and anti-GM advocate, Eric Séralini, about supposed links between GM corn and tumours in rats, was cited as gospel. No mention of its rejection by major food safety authorities and senior scientists around the globe. Monsanto was demonized as an obligate component of each speech. The false or distorted information flowed on and on.”

His conclusion :
“Misguided organic advocacy groups are doing a great job of setting up organic agriculture for these attacks, while neglecting the real problems of the growers. Organic farmers need and deserve better.”

The whole article is worth reading.