The world’s natural and organic food and retail industry was estimated in 2015 to stand at $92 billion (deduced from Statista projection figures). The organic food industry is still a small fraction of the food industry. According to the World Bank, the food and agriculture industry is around 10% of the global GDP of $78 trillion.

Farmers in the US do not find it profitable to shift to organic crops from traditional high-yielding genetically modified crops. An analysis conducted in the US estimates that if all crops were to be raised organically in 2014, then at the current level of farm production additional 109 million acres of other lands will be required.

Organic farms can probably feed 10 billion people in 2050 if people turn vegan. The shift to becoming vegan, though, is unlikely to happen. The challenge to food security in the world is huge. The problem is not just production but also access. Any policy decision to shift production from conventional to organic can seriously concern food security. The food shortages in Sri Lanka in 2022 are said to have been exasperated because of a nationwide shift from traditional to organic farming.

Is organic food more nutritious?

The nutritional value, sensory qualities, and food safety of organically and conventionally produced foods were compared. Except for nitrate content, there is no strong evidence that organic and conventional foods differ in concentrations of various nutrients or contaminants (Bourn et al., 2002).

162 studies were analyzed, of which 137 examined nutrient quality in crops and 25 livestock products. The study concluded that conventionally produced crops had a significantly higher nitrogen content. Organic crops had a higher content of phosphorus and higher titratable acidity. The scientists also noted no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs. Small differences in nutrient content between the two could be related to differences in production methods (Dangour et al., 2009).

Additional reading:
Nutrition Facts: a guide to good health

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