Reports trying to create doubts about organic agriculture are suddenly flooding the media. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, people are fed up of the corporate assault of toxics and GMOs. Secondly, people are turning to organic agriculture and organic food as a way to end the toxic war against the earth and our bodies.
At a time when industry has set its eyes on the super profits to be harvested from seed monopolies through patented seeds and seeds engineered with toxic genes and genes for making crops resistant to herbicides, people are seeking food freedom through organic, non-industrial food.
The food revolution is the biggest revolution of our times, and the industry is panicking. So it spins propaganda, hoping that in the footsteps of Goebbels, a lie told a hundred times will become the truth. But food is different.
We are what we eat. We are our own barometers. Our farms and our bodies are our labs, and every farmer and every citizen is a scientist who knows best how bad farming and bad food hurts the land and our health, and how good farming and good food heals the planet and people.
One example of an industrial agriculture myth is found in "The Great Organic Myths" by Rob Johnston, published in the August 8 issue of The Tribune. It tries to argue:
"Organic foods are not healthier or better for the environment - and they're packed with pesticides. In an age of climate change and shortages, these foods are an indulgence the world can't afford."This article had been published in the Independent and rebutted, but was used by the Tribune without the rebuttal.
Every argument in the article is fraudulent.
The dominant myth of industrial agriculture is that it produces more food and is land-saving. However, the more industrial agriculture spreads, the more hungry people we have. And the more industrial agriculture spreads, the more land is grabbed.
The case against industrial agriculture
Productivity in industrial agriculture is measured in terms of "yield" per acre, not overall output. And the only input taken into account is labor, which is abundant, not natural resources which are scarce.
A resource hungry and resource destructive system of agriculture is not land saving, it is land demanding. That is why industrial agriculture is driving a massive planetary land grab. It is leading to the deforestation of the rainforests in the Amazon for soya and in Indonesia for palm oil. And it is fueling a land grab in Africa, displacing pastoralists and peasants.
According to the FAO International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources in Leipzig (1995), industrial agriculture is responsible for 75 per cent biodiversity erosion, 75 per cent water destruction, 75 per cent land degradation and 40 per cent greenhouse gases. It is too heavy a burden on the planet. And as the 270,000 farmers' suicides since 1997 in India show, it is too heavy a burden on our farmers.
The toxics and poisons used in chemical farming are creating a health burden for our society. Remember Bhopal. Remember the Endosulfan victims in Kerala. And remember Punjab's Cancer train.
Navdanya's forthcoming report "Poisons in our Food" is a synthesis of all studies on the health burden of pesticides which are used in industrial agriculture but not in organic farming.
Industrial agriculture is an inefficient and wasteful system which is chemical intensive, fossil fuel intensive and capital intensive. It destroys nature's capital on the one hand and society’s capital on the other, by displacing small farms and destroying health. According to David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell University, it uses 10 units of energy as input to produce one unit of energy as food....