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    What is Organic Farming?


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2002

    Organic foodstuff is produced with a commitment to respect biological and ecological processes. Organic agriculture is based on a holistic viewpoint that perceives nature as more than just the separate, individual elements into which it may be split. The principles of organic farming are found in ecology, a science concerned with the interrelationship of living organisms and their environments. The concept of organic farming also covers economic and social aspects of agricultural production, local as well as global.

    The aim of organic farming is to support and strengthen biological processes without recourse to synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and the genetic modification of organisms. Hence, this method takes a mainly preventive approach to controlling weeds, pests and diseases.

    In order to ensure that organic products are indeed produced according to organic farming principles, they, or rather the whole production and handling process from the farmer to the consumer, must be certified "organic". By certification, a third party (an accredited body) gives written assurance that a product labelled as organic is produced according to recognized standards for organic farming.

    Certification is a necessary condition for international trade in organic products. When entering a market, suppliers should ensure that their products are certified as meeting the standards applicable in that particular market. Producers who supply several different markets should be aware that organic standards may differ somewhat from market to market, although they are generally based on the same principles.