What if Dominica was an organic island?

March 2011 047

Two Dominican Farms side by side one  organic one non organic – the non organic was sprayed with what has – since this pic was taken – been proven beyond a doubt to cause cancer. Trees use water from the environment they grow in – these chemicals enter the water system – which oranges do you want to eat? – which land do you want to play on? – which land do you think will promote wellness in our future generations?

 

In August 2002, FAO and the World Bank proposed and set in motion an international assessment of the role of agricultural science and technology. The authors’ brief was to examine hunger, poverty, the environment and equity together. The assessment report was considered by 64 governments in April 2008. A global press release called Agriculture – The Need for Change followed.

It took over 400 consultants but finally we have a new mandate on the best way to go forward: small organic farms!

Reading this assessment got me to thinking; what if Dominica got on the bandwagon quickly and declared the entire island organic? It is not as far fetched as it may sound; entire communities in Canada and all over the world are declaring themselves pesticide free just a step away from organic.

Just think of the economical, environmental and social benefits that would ensue

Agricultural productivity would be sustained or improved. From the studies that have been done it seems this is particularly true for small developing nations such as Dominica.

For the last 30 years as the organic agriculture movement grew, common opinion among conventional agriculturalists was that organic farming cannot feed the masses.

Personally, I wondered if this opinion was not strongly affected by the huge funds and lobbying efforts the mega agriculture companies contribute to promoting modern agriculture with genetically modified seed and agricultural chemicals. After all they can afford it; they make millions.

Organic experts have steadfastly maintained that organic farming is the answer to sustainable food security. Recent studies have proven them right in country after country.

A study released 11/7/2007 by U.S. Researchers found organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming in developing countries, and holds its own against standard methods in rich countries.

Rather than the large-scale of use of monoculture crops and pesticides to achieve food security in Africa, organic agriculture increases yields by nearly 130 percent, aids poverty alleviation and offers a sustainable solution to world hunger, according to a new report by UNCTAD.

Markets for organic produce and products are growing; according to an IFOAM document presented at  the Ecological Farm Conference in January 2008 called Global Statistics of the Organic Market; global sales of organic food and drink have increased by 42% between 2002 and 2005 and experts are predicting organic markets to grow even faster in the next few years.

Just having returned from working in the health food industry in Canada and volunteering at the Toronto Vegetarian Fair; one of the largest Vegetarian Fairs in North America I walked around the food distributor’s booths. When I told them where I was from many asked me what organic products we had as an island; especially asking for chocolate.

We will be well positioned to be able to meet international food safety standards. In the near future all foods entering Europe and the US will need clear records tracing the path of a food from field to table in case of food emergency. Organic farmers utilize an audit tracking component as part of their compliance with the certification process .

 

Food quality will be assured. According to an IFOAM discussion “Does ‘Organic’ mean ‘Quality?;  quality should be based on the following 6 criteria: authenticity, function, biological nature, nutritional status, sensual nature and ethical status. Studies have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt organic food compares to or excels the quality of conventionally grown food when utilizing this definition of quality.

We would be the first organic country in the world and undisputed eco destination of the Caribbean. Other countries in the Caribbean are talking about it; but we would be at the forefront of the green revolution in tourism and agriculture in the West Indies.

Those interested in agro tourism or culinary tourism would be intrigued; those who are keen on geo tourism or nature tourism would be assured of pristine environments and those seeking an eco holiday or healthy holiday would be very attracted to an island proclaiming organic.

Organic farming practices result in a benefit to the environment by reducing pollution and conserving energy, water and soil. Research comparing organic and conventional farming systems shows organic farming comes out ahead on every environmental measure……

Organic agriculture respects the balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem therefore: soil is nourished; beneficial wildlife is encouraged; wetlands and other natural areas are retained.

Farming land organically increases the quality and depth of the soil; ensuring the sustainability of farming for generations to come. Synthetic fertilizers may create rapid growth, but they don’t replenish the soil nearly as much as organic fertilizers do

Studies show the decline of reptiles; amphibians; bees and birds can be directly linked to agricultural chemicals. Where will our farmers be with out bees to fertilize our plants; birds to distribute seed; reptiles to maintain eco systems in balance?

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3 Responses to “What if Dominica was organic?”

  1. anne winn Says:

    As an old hand in the advertising and marketing business, the opportunity to rebrand Dominica as not just the Nature Island but the All Natural Island is golden. In addition to the good reasons already mentioned there are economic advantages to escaping dependance in petro-chemical based fertilizers and pesticides. It is well documented that the planet has reached its peak of oil production, as new finds make little dent in expanding demand. Therefore those products produced from this scarce resource will become too costly to use in producing undifferentiated commodities. An all organic island would be a gift to the whole planet and an economic boon to an island which has proven itself over centuries to be suited to intensive mono-agriculture.


    1. Anne; I so love and believe in your comment. May I quote from it with reference to you on my blog or newsletter? DOAM Dominica Organic Agriculture Movement is flourishing; each farm that turns organic is one step further towards goal. My husband is surrounded by gramzone loving farmers so we are really affected by the status of the island! Let’s keep visualizing! 🙂


  2. […] Rather than the large-scale of use of monoculture crops and pesticides to achieve food security in Africa, organic agriculture increases yields by nearly 130 percent, aids poverty alleviation and offers a sustainable solution to world hunger, according to a new report by UNCTAD. (full article) […]

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