In recent years there has been a popular trend amongst the general public that favours buying and consuming organic food. There is a perception that organic food is much healthier for you and the farming practices involved in producing the food are more environmentally friendly. However there are both advantages and disadvantages in terms of producing organic food, with many farmers choosing not to produce organic food.
One of the main advantages of producing organic food is that farmers are able to cut the amount of greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, which farms release into the atmosphere. The synthetic fertilisers that many farmers use also require a lot of fossil fuels during the manufacturing process, so using less synthetic fertiliser means that less fossil fuels are being burned. Chemical fertilisers pose a threat to the environment and often chemicals can enter into local ecosystems harming animals and polluting rivers. Organic farming does not pose such risks to the natural environment.
Organic food is particularly popular with the general public because it is associated with a very positive healthy image. Many people believe the food is healthier for you because it has not been corrupted with pesticides and synthetic fertilisers. Farmers can take advantage of this trend by growing certain produce in an organic way. The public have a very bad perception of pesticides and other chemicals being used on the food they will be eating, therefore producing organic food can ease the fears of the consumer and increase consumption.
One of the major disadvantages associated with organic farming is the high costs involved in the process. Because there is no use of pesticides the crops grown are far more vulnerable to pests and disease. The farming can be a lot more labour intensive and the cost of organic feed is much higher than non organic feed. These costs are passed on to the consumer making organic food more expensive to buy than conventionally produced food. Whilst many people are more than willing to pay more for their food because it is organic, during times of hardship and recession people are less likely to buy organic when they can get the same food for a cheaper price.
Organic farming also requires far more land to grow the same amount of produce as conventional farming does, because chemicals are not used to produce high yield crops. Using more land uses up more energy, for example through increased ploughing, and this can negate the benefits or organic farming because it produces more emissions. The debate about the benefits and disadvantages of organic farming has become more prevalent over recent years, as climate change and global food production have become much larger public issues.