Do you know that if you eat an average apple, you would be taking in more than 30 pesticides and antibiotics even after washing it?
The reason is quite obvious. In a hurry for producing more and more crops to satisfy growing demand, producers have had to resort to using a mix of pesticides and fertilisers to control disease and insect attacks. This might be good news for their bank balances perhaps but not so that good for human health. In this perspective, the importance of food safety has surpassed the concept of food security which is a separate issue.
For Pakistanis, opting for organic food doesn’t mean that we are being fashionable or following Western fads; it mean that we’re going back to the basics. Organic food is not an alien concept for us. Our forefathers were all organic farmers and used natural fertilisers and natural methods of pest control. In modern times, organic farming entails the use of organically approved pesticides and fertilisers to maintain soil productivity and control pests. Organic farmers employ methods like crop rotation, green manuring, and use compost that is made by the farmers themselves.
Sales of organic food have increased more than six-fold worldwide in the last quarter of a century while organic production has just doubled during the same period. It mirrors that the demand for organically produced food continues to outpace its supply, depicting a widening demand supply gap. Although it is a challenge to cater the increasing needs of organic consumers but fulfilling the demand of these quality consumers can substantially strengthen the stakes of organic food producers in the global food market. This is a window of opportunity to agriculture economies like Pakistan who can earn billions in terms of foreign exchange through the export of organic food.