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Organic Federation of Australia Chairman in Copenhagen to promote organic agriculture

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Organic Federation of Australia , Chairman, Andre Leu, will travel to Copenhagen to attend a series of events organised by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) to promote the benefits of organic farming and organic agriculture systems on climate change.

‘Organic agriculture has the potential to sequester nearly all the carbon dioxide that is generated by human activities. It has the ability to sequester 37 gigatonnes of the 38 gigatonnes CO2 produced every year,’ stated Leu, who is also the Vice President of IFOAM.

CO2 is the main greenhouse gas (GHG) that scientists believe is responsible for climate change.

According to the latest technical report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change annual CO2 emissions have grown between 1970 and 2004 by about 80%.

Long term studies by the Rodale Institute show that organic agriculture systems can sequester 7.4 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year.

‘If these organic systems were applied to the 5.0 billion hectares of global agricultural land, it gives the potential to sequester 37 gigatonnes of CO2 per year – nearly all of the world’s CO2 output,’ Leu says.

Organic agriculture can also help reduce poverty by increasing yields for small holders in the developing world and through extra income by paying farmers for the CO2 that they sequester. 

‘The current price per tonne of CO2 on the European Climate Exchange is around $21.50. Good organic farmers could earn around $160 per hectare per year on top of the money they earn from their crops. This would be a significant income boost for most farmers, especially for the millions of smallholders in the developing world who live on less that $400 a year,’ says Leu. 

‘By including soil carbon, farmers can earn money from both their crops and the carbon they sequester. Very importantly the land can be used for food production,' adds Leu.

‘No other industry has the potential to significantly reduce Greenhouse Gases, increase productivity and alleviate poverty for the world’s poorest farmers than organic agriculture. 

‘Governments around the world need to include organic agriculture in their climate change policies and actively promote its adoption. Furthermore, after years of neglect, serious funding is needed into organic research and development to improve on the current best practices. This will improve on the amount of CO2 that can be sequestered into the soil and improve on the yields of food and fibre,’ he concludes.

The Organic Federation of Australia is the peak body and the largest representative organic organisation in Australia.

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