Organic Farming Too Unproductive to End African Starvation
(p. 6) There is no shortage of writing -- often from a locavore point of view -- in support of more organic methods of farming, for both developed and developing countries. These opinions recognize that current farming methods bring serious environmental problems involving water supplies, fertilizer runoff and energy use. Yet organic farming typically involves smaller yields -- 5 to 34 percent lower, as estimated in a recent study in the journal Nature, depending on the crop and the context. For all the virtues of organic approaches, it's hard to see how global food problems can be solved by starting with a cut in yields. Claims in this area are often based on wishful thinking rather than a hard-nosed sense of what's practical.
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(Note: the online version of the article is dated September 15, 2012.)