Italy: the organic sector should go hand-in-hand with scientific research

There are ever more innovations within organic farming. The sector is increasingly relying on science while overcoming a certain scepticism. This is one of the concepts expressed by AISSA, the Italian Agrarian Scientific Societies Association. The association calls for a more open-minded attitude as there are many positive aspects which could really help to improve a growing sector like the organic. In this way, organic produce could be more resistant to plant diseases and insects.

A note from AISSA claims that ... “the organic production is extremely contemporary, and it is widely discussed, even on national media. We cannot say the same for the possible innovations aimed at guaranteeing sustainable farming in every form, more or less intensive, as it is used in wide areas on the planet and in our country.”

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The national scientific community believes that it is necessary to make clearer these concepts in order to facilitate scientific communication and improve common knowledge.

The recent approval of the Reg. (UE) No 2018/848 for organic farming makes necessary having a scientifically reliable discussion in order to anticipate the debate on the post-2020 reform on the Common Farming Politics. This needs to face important challenges and to fix the biggest issues.

Organic farming has a positive influence on the national balance and on quality and aware consumption as there is quite a stagnation with regard to other types of produce. Organic farming is a reality, and not in Italy only.

“Thus, it is necessary to introduce more innovations, considering also the fact that they could be useful for other types of crops, as well. We need to prevent as much damage as possible through sustainable practices”.

Therefore, the organic sector should open itself to further innovations. At the same time, it is crucial to carry out more researches and experiments, both targeted and interdisciplinary. We need disclosure, technological exchanging and constant operator training. “Also the organic farming should exploit the potentialities that genetic improvement is providing. And thus, organic farmers should utilise more productive vegetable varieties and animal breeds, which are more resistant and adaptable to different pedo-climatic conditions”.

The organic farming techniques are extremely healthy for the environment – especially regarding the care for the biodiversity and soil fertility). However, organic does not necessarily mean sustainable, especially regarding the produce unity.

Mostly, this problem is found in those companies which want to utilise an organic system even though there is a very high risk of parasites and pathogens.  For instance, there is an issue with copper residues in vineyards’ soil. This is a consequence of the high number of treatments aimed at controlling serious plant diseases. The same EU lowered the quantity of usable copper.

“In Italy, different forms of sustainable farming have to co-exist. Farmers and scientists should discuss the sustainability matter and act accordingly, without speculations and exploitations. The scientific research must propose and validate sustainable innovation and it must promote the operators responsibility”.

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