What is Organic Agriculture?

There are many explanations and definitions for organic agriculture but all converge to state that it is a system that relies on ecosystem management rather than external agricultural inputs. It is a system that begins to consider potential environmental and social impacts by eliminating the use of synthetic inputs, such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, veterinary drugs, genetically modified seeds and breeds, preservatives, additives and irradiation. These are replaced with site-specific management practices that maintain and increase long-term soil fertility and prevent pest and diseases.

In Prudential Accord Agro Limited “Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, agronomic, biological, and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfil any specific function within the system.” (FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1999).

Consumer or market-driven organic agriculture. Products are clearly identified through certification and labelling. Consumers take a conscious decision on how their food is produced, processed, handled and marketed. The consumer therefore has a strong influence over organic production.

Service-driven organic agriculture. In countries such as in the European Union (EU), subsidies for organic agriculture are available to generate environmental goods and services, such as reducing groundwater pollution or creating a more biologically diverse landscape.

Farmer-driven organic agriculture. Some farmers believe that conventional agriculture is unsustainable and have developed alternative modes of production to improve their family health, farm economies and/or self-reliance. In many developing countries like Ghana, organic agriculture is adopted as a method to improve household food security or to achieve a reduction of input costs. Produce is not necessarily sold on the market or is sold without a price distinction as it is not certified. In developed countries, small farmers are increasingly developing direct channels to deliver non-certified organic produce to consumers. In the United States of America (USA), farmers marketing small quantities of organic products are formally exempt from certification.

In Prudential Accord Agro Limited is customer based company who is to ensure that quality farm produce are delivered to customers standards of Ghana Food and Drugs Board (FDB).

Raising livestock and poultry, for meat, dairy and eggs, is another organically farming activity that complements growing. Organic farms attempt to provide animals with natural living conditions and feed. Organic certification verifies that livestock are raised according to the USDA organic regulations throughout their lives. These regulations include the requirement that all animal feed must be certified organic.

Organic livestock may be, and must be, treated with medicine when they are sick, but drugs cannot be used to promote growth, their feed must be organic, and they must be pastured.

Also, donkeys and cattle were once a basic farm feature that provided labour, for hauling and plowing, fertility, through recycling of manure, and fuel, in the form of food for farmers and other animals. While today, mechanized agriculture is what Prudential Accord Agro Limited is using in place of the animals for labour. small growing operations often do not include livestock, domesticated animals are a desirable part of the organic farming equation, especially for true sustainability, the ability of a farm to function as a self-renewing unit.

Does the consumption of organic food increase exposure to biological contaminants?

Food safety standards. There have been many claims that eating organic foods increases exposure to micro-biological contaminants. Studies investigating these claims have found no evidence to support them. It is important to realize that all organic foods must meet the same quality and safety standards applied to conventional foods. These include the CODEX General Principles of Food Hygiene and food safety programs based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, where required by national regulations like food and drugs board(FDB) in Ghana. Often, however, the standards of the individual organic certification body are even stricter.

Manure. One of the suggested sources of micro-biological contamination is manure. The use of manure is common in both conventional and organic systems, the potential for contamination is therefore applicable to both. It is well known that manure is a carrier of human pathogens, but properly treated (e.g. composted), it is both a safe form of organic fertilizer and more efficient nutrient source to crops. Poultry and livestock droppings are kept in a special containment to prepare either compost or slurry to fertilized the soil for crop production

Furthermore, certified organic farmers are restricted from using untreated manure less than 60 days before the harvest of a crop and are inspected to make sure these standards and restrictions are met.

Post-harvest handling. Packaging, processing, transportation and storage is another point along the path that food travels where contamination could occur, but likewise, this is an argument equally relevant to both organic and conventional foods. The main aim of packaging in Prudential Accord Agro Limited is to ensure food is microbiologically stable for a defined period, and this is achieved by organic foods. Ingredients of non-agricultural origin are limited during processing and the use of irradiation for the control of pests and deteriorative changes is not permitted, but this does not mean they are necessarily less safe. It is important to note that irradiation itself is a technology that is not accepted by some consumer groups and organic foods therefore provide the consumer with an alternative. Although the organic label is not a health or safety claim, the way food is produced does affect its quality.

Control atmosphere systems are constructed to see to take care of perishable crops and other animal product not necessarily to go through chemical processing.