Industrial Agriculture Vs Organic Farming Environmental Impacts
As a result, this has a significant impact on the environment making organic farming an alternative in response to increased environmental impacts of intensive agriculture. Organic agriculture is the production system in which sustaining healthy soils, ecosystem, and people are the objective by ensuring that synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are not applied in crop production. This paper compares and contrasts the environmental impacts of conventional vs. organic agriculture production methods. Contrasting Industrial Agriculture Industrial agriculture is often characterized by the cultivation of crops in large-scale monoculture which require the agricultural landscape to be significantly transformed including surface levelling, soil water conditions, removing woodlots field margins and hedges. Moreover, besides pesticides posing a threat to the environment by causing soil toxicity, accumulation of these biocides on soil is also a threat (Leach & Mumford, 2008).
There is high contamination of the surface and water by residues which eventually climb to the top of the food chains by accumulating in tissues of living organisms. The high dependence on external inputs such as fuel, fertilizer, gas, and water for production in industrial agriculture is of great concern. It is estimated that the amount of energy used in intensive agriculture is more than the energy obtained from yields. Moreover, the use of energy in high intensity leads to the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The expected changes from the adoption of GM crops including farmer’s income, input costs, and gross income make GM farming more profitable than conventional farming (Garcia-Yi et al. Moreover, food security poses a significant threat, and GM is part of a broader approach to tackle this issue by helping mitigate expected shortage as a result of climate change in some regions and increased population.
Through increased income, there is an increase in food access and increased nutritional status of household sue to increased consumption of bio fortified food (Garcia-Yi et al. However, on the contrary to organic farming, conventional farming is faced opposition owing to its negative impacts on society and the economy. There are long-term health impacts that ate associated with biotech foods such as allergen, antibiotic resistance, unnatural nutritional changes, and toxicity. Needless to say, organic farming is more environmentally friendly as compared to the conventional system. Following the principle of organic agriculture, studies show that there is high soil carbon, better soil quantity and soil protection against erosion ((Bengtsson, Ahnström, & WEIBULL, 2005). Insecticides and fungicides used in conventional farming adversely impact biodiversity in agricultural areas whereas there is high biodiversity in the organic farming system.
Additional they effectiveness of biological pest control is impeded by the use of herbicides and pesticides (Bengtsson, Ahnström, & WEIBULL, 2005). There is no pollution of surface or groundwater with compounds from synthetic pesticides since the purpose of this is prohibited in organic farming. Although conventional farming may produce more yields, the environmental degradation that comes along with such production is devastating and cannot be justified. Owing to the minimal adverse environmental impacts of organic farming its adoption as the preferred method of farming should be promoted. Although there seem to be more economic advantages with conventional farming than organic agriculture, in the long run, the benefits are outrun by the negative social impacts that come along with conventional agriculture. However, the adoption of organic farming is subject to challenges and moving towards this sustainable path is not easy and requires work in tandem with various sectors to make it a success.
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