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As organic production, and therefore organic products, it is understood that agricultural and agroindustrial production or production process in which certain substances that are proscribed by a protocol are not used, which is governed according to current legislation. To produce organically is, then, to produce according to a certain regulation.
Organic regulation and certification emphasize consumer and environmental safety. The aim is to obtain a chemically and bacteriologically healthy product - I make the exception because it can be understood "healthy" from a more comprehensive conception - that has been produced without affecting the environment with toxic waste and that does not imply risks to the health of the consumer.
Strawberries, cotton, wheat can be grown organically, even in monocultures; Agrochemicals can be applied - there is a very long list of approved commercial products - provided they are not prohibited by regulations, because they do not cause environmental damage or are risky for consumer health.
So you can have a monoculture of 40 hectares of strawberries, to which many commercial products are applied (hormones, mineral salts, flowering promoters, amino acids, plant extracts) and that crop is certified as organic if it is within the limits of the normative. I give the example of the strawberry because I know a specific case like the one described.
Agroecology is a much broader approach, with a comprehensive view of the ecosystem. Agroecology raises agricultural production from the dialogue of knowledge between the academy and the peasantry; between tradition and scientific knowledge; looking for technologies that allow to produce in a sustainable and healthy way according to the dictates of nature; respecting biological and cultural diversity. Agroecology is eminently local; a regulation for agroecological cultivation cannot be universally dictated.
But there are very clear criteria to follow. Synthetic chemicals are also not used in agroecology; the health of the ecosystem and consumers is also protected; but it is understood as HEALTHY, to a product without toxic, without harmful substances, without negative energy, without a harmful history; a product conceived, produced and consumed in a healthy agroecosystem and social environment. HEALTHY and HEALTHY have a holistic component for agroecology that goes beyond laboratory determinations.
You cannot grow only cotton, or corn, or strawberries agroecologically. Yes you can design and cultivate an agroecosystem that
produce strawberries, cotton, corn ... and many other things. Because agroecological is a farm or farm, not a crop.
Agroecological products are almost invariably organic, although there are cases of certain agroecological practices prohibited by the
organic production regulations. Conversely, the same is not the case: many organic products are not agroecological. The organic almost always maintains the same mechanistic, materialistic, reductionist logic as the rest of "modern" agriculture.
Thus, there is a huge market for approved products for organic agriculture; In many places, organic producers "import" manure, organic fertilizers, and plant residues to their farms, which is not ecological at all. There are brands specialized in providing inputs for organic agriculture, from seeds to packaging.
On the other hand, agroecology raises the use of resources from the farm itself, reducing as much as possible the dependence on external inputs; and consequently, there is no market for "agroecological inputs" or the like. The agroecological logic is far from the market.
Finally, there is a component in the organic production regulations that is para-tariff; Northern countries are looking for ways to limit exports from the south, regulating in such a way that it is easier to follow regulations in the temperate climates of North America, Europe and Japan than in the Latin American, African or Indian tropics.
A concrete example of the latter is the prohibition, in most regulations, of the use of mineral salts of micronutrients, naturally deficient in the tropics, especially when modernized agricultural techniques have been used for some time.
In short: Organic production is a way of producing that seeks to preserve the environment and care for the health of the consumer; it can be more or less materialistic, more or less mercantilist, more or less communal in its gaze.
Agroecology is a methodological proposal for social transformation, which proposes modes of production, transformation and consumption that respect the natural and social diversity of local ecosystems and ensure sustainability. It is always supportive, community, local, ecosystem in its gaze.
That is why it is easier to export organic products than agro-ecological products. Spending more energy in transportation than in production falls outside the agroecological logic, it is almost absurd.
By Miranda Stankevicius