Organic can safeguard against new “food imperialism” — DiMatteo

Organic agriculture can act as a safeguard against “a new imperialism in the name of sustainability and food security” IFOAM president Katherine DiMatteo told delegates at last week’s Biofach Congress.

DiMatteo said that the debate on food and farming had acquired an urgent new relevance against a backdrop of spiralling food prices and deepening fears around global food security. But she warned that a united effort would be needed to ensure that the current power centres did not dominate that the debate encouraging “business as usual”.

She said: “Although there is no single solution, multi-faceted, holistic, agro-ecological approaches exemplified by organic agriculture can contribute significantly to raising incomes and reducing poverty. The one-size-fits-all approach to farming that still dominates global solutions for feeding the world continues to fail because it disregards biodiversity; relies too much on chemicals and other inputs that farmers cannot afford; ignores women farmers and doesn’t consider traditional food culture and knowledge.

“Organic is not yet mainstream but also no longer a niche, we are an industry and a community but more importantly, a movement for global change. We must continue to demonstrate that the principles of organic agriculture  — health, ecology, fairness and care—– when integrated into policy decisions, business relationships and individual choices create the most credible pathway forward for food security and the empowerment of all, especially the poor and marginalized.

“I am confident that organic agriculture can be the safeguard against a new imperialism in the name of sustainability and food security. We have the passion; we have the experience and knowledge. Let’s stand together in a united effort to reform public policy and encourage private sector actions that put people first before profit, convenience, and business as usual.”