Organic farming pays.

Author:Nierenberg, Danielle
Position:ENVIRONMENTAL Intelligence

One reason that organic farming is expanding rapidly in Asia, according to a new study, is because organic farmers can make more money.

The United Nations-affiliated International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) reports that the value of organic exports from China, which has more than 1,000 certified organic farms and companies, grew from under $1 million in the mid-1990s to $142 million in 2003. In India, 2.5 million hectares are under organic production and 332 organic certifications were issued in 2004. The report's findings echo those from a 2001 study of six Latin American countries, which revealed that farming organically yields better earnings and higher standards of living. In Costa Rica, for example, organic cacao producers received payments 150 percent higher than those to conventional growers. But the study notes that farmers are also turning to organic methods because it eliminates the need for, and cost of, expensive pesticides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers, and reduces the health and environmental burdens imposed by those chemicals. And because organic agriculture is labor...

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