No. 5 · September 2006

New books and reports

A new book explains challenges and prospects in the "Global Development of Organic Agriculture". Another book review the "Sociological Perspectives of Organic Agriculture". Finally, a study of an organic vegetable chain conclude that supermarkets pressurize organic farmers.

  • Global Development of Organic Agriculture: Challenges and Prospects
  • Sociological Perspectives of Organic Agriculture: From Pioneer to Policy
  • The Danish Organic Vegetable Chain

Global Development of Organic Agriculture: Challenges and Prospects

Agriculture and food systems, including organic agriculture, are undergoing a technological and structural modernisation strongly influenced by growing globalisation. Organic agricultural movements can be seen as a tangible effort towards more sustainable development. However, there are large differences between, on the one hand, industrialised farming and consumption based on global food chains and, on the other, smallholder farmers and resource poor people primarily linked in local food markets in low-income countries.

This book provides an overview of the potential role of organic agriculture in a global perspective. The book discusses in-depth political ecology, ecological justice, ecological economics and free trade with new insights on the challenges for organic agriculture. This is followed by the potential role of organic agriculture for improving soil fertility, nutrient cycling and food security and reducing veterinary medicine use, together with discussions of research needs and the importance of non-certified organic agriculture.

Edited by Niels Halberg, Hugo Fjelsted Alroe, Marie Trydeman Knudsen and Erik Steen Kristensen, Danish Centre for Organic Food and Farming (DARCOF)

Further information

> Knowledge synthesis prior to publication (PDF)
> CABI information on the book

Sociological Perspectives of Organic Agriculture: From Pioneer to Policy

Bringing together articles by leading researchers, this book takes a fresh look at understanding the dynamics of the organic agricultural sector in Europe, Australia, South America and the US. The authors draw theory from a range of social sciences to demonstrate that the complexity of organic agriculture is closely connected to nature, society and economy. The book depicts organic agriculture as an engine of growth for the organic sector and examines the important roles played by producers, and other parts of the supply chain such as consumers and certification standards.

Edited by G Holt, Tecnoalimenti S.C.p.A, Milan, Italy; M Reed, University of Exeter, UK

Further information

> CABI information on the book

The Danish Organic Vegetable Chain

In negotiating prices with organic farmers and packing firms, well-organised international supermarkets and discount chain shops are able to drastically reduce vegetable price levels, subsequently imposing consequences on the ecology of the future.

Institute of Food and Resource Economics (FOI) has investigated the power structure between organic vegetable suppliers and retailers in a new rapport. It concludes that the producers are neither strong enough nor well organised enough to negotiate with the various retail chains. This results in lower market prices, in turn reducing the earnings of the producers of organic vegetables.

Further information

> Press release from FOI
> Read the report here (PDF)