The costs of organic

Organic food is such an easy target at times like this. It is often more expensive, in terms of the pound in your purse, in the industrialised world. But it is not so in developing nations, where organic-based techniques of soil care, crop rotation and natural fertility-building are often the most effective, safe, productive and resilient ways of producing nutritious food for the local population.

Organic food is cheaper in the poor countries but not in the industrialised world?

How can this be?

Quite easily really. The major point about organic methods as opposed to conventional is that organic requires a great deal more labour. Hoeing instead of spraying weedkillers. Ploughing more, spreading muck rather than fertiliser and so on.

So in places where labour is cheap it\’s entirely possible that organic methods would be cheaper. However, that does indeed require that labour be cheap.

That is, lots of people have to live that oh so desirable peasant lifestyle in order to keep organic cheaper than the industrial substitutes.

Nice and ethical that, isn\’t it? Relying upon the sweating coolies in the fields to grow your food rather than the well fed well paid bloke on the tractor with the chemicals.

2 comments on “The costs of organic

  1. Tee hee, in that long article about soil quality to which you linked recently, it said that said well fed well paid farmers in the West were ‘forced’ to buy these super modern combine harvesters and use modern techniques because they couldn’t afford the wages to have it done by hand. That’s sort of the whole point, isn’t it?

  2. sure it could be fair
    all that has to happen is a rotating labor force to tend the fields
    a non drop out draft would do the job …even weak people can be placed in the field and picked up a night..
    perhaps two weeks per citizen per year…

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