Pascal Liu - France
Pascal Liu is an Agricultural Economist and has worked as a Commodity Specialist in the Horticultural Products Group of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) since 1998. His work includes studies of the markets for organic fruit and vegetables and economic analysis of organic production. He was the coordinator and editor of the publication “World market for organic fruit and vegetables”, produced in collaboration with colleagues from FAO, ITC and CTA in 2001. Pascal organized the Conference on Supporting the Diversification of Exports in Latin America and the Caribbean through the Development of Organic Agriculture with CTA, CDE and IICA in 2001. He has done research on various types of environmental and social certification programmes and has collaborated in publications on this topic. Before joining the FAO, he worked on agricultural development projects with farmer groups in North Africa and Southern France from 1990 to 1996.
Reconciling agricultural production and the environment: overview of the development of organic farming in the world
Organic agriculture is a mode of production that avoids the use of synthetic inputs and maintains soil fertility, notably through the recycling of organic matter. As such, it contributes to the preservation of natural resources and the environment. Demand for organic products has risen rapidly in the last 15 years, with annual sales growing between 10 and 25% in developed countries, while the market for conventional foods grows at less than 2% per year. In addition, certified organic foods tend to sell at a higher price than their conventional equivalents. As a result, organic agriculture may help farmers increase their incomes and diversify their production while protecting the environment.
The areas cultivated organically have expanded in both developed and developing countries since the 1990s. Trade in organic products has risen and was evaluated at some US$23 billion in 2003, with the EU, North America and Japan accounting for the bulk of the market. Interestingly, organic agriculture is also expanding rapidly in many developing countries such as China, India, Argentina, Brazil and Egypt. The prospects are for continued growth of organic farming at a steady rate in the next 10 years.