Definition of organic farming
To define the concept of organic farming, we may refer to the definition developed by the Codex Alimentarius, on the basis of contribution from experts from all over the world. According to the Codex, organic farming involves holistic production management systems (for crops and livestock) emphasizing the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs. This is accomplished by using, where possible, cultural, biological and mechanical methods in preference to synthetic materials.
The Codex guidelines* specify that an organic production system is designed to:
- enhance biological diversity within the whole system;
- increase soil biological activity;
- maintain long term soil fertility;
- recycle wastes of plant and animal origin in order to return nutrients to the land, thus minimizing the use of non-renewable resources;
- rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems;
- promote the healthy use of soil, water and air as well as minimise all forms of pollution thereto that may result from agricultural practices;
- handle agricultural products with emphasis on careful processing methods in order to maintain the organic integrity and vital qualities of the product at all stages;
- become established on any existing farm through a period of conversion, the appropriate length of which is determined by site-specific factors such as the history of the land, and type of crops and livestock to be produced".
* Guidelines for the Production , Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods, Codex.