Officially, agriculture is responsible for 10% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions, mainly through methane from ruminants digestion, manure management, and nitrous oxide from fertilized soils.
In reality, emissions from agriculture are much higher than the ones currently taken into account: industrial animal production relies heavily on imports of feed grown outside Europe, which contributes to deforestation. The production of synthetic fertilizers also emits considerable amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, and the food system could actually be responsible for more than 50% of global emissions.
Organic farming can reduce emission as it builds on reduced inputs, closed nutrient cycles and fertile soils. It provides many animal welfare and environmental benefits for soils, water, and biodiversity. Feeding animals on well-managed grasslands also contributes to putting carbon back in the soils.
What is the best way to reduce emissions? According to the industrial farming model we should produce as much as possible on a given amount of land, using a lot of inputs, so as to reduce emissions per kilogramme of food produced.
IFOAM EU believes that all the environmental impacts of agriculture should be reduced. The fight against climate change should not lead to further industrialisation of agriculture. Adopting more sustainable diets, reducing food waste, and choosing quality over quantity will be important, especially when it comes to eating animal products.
We need to transform agriculture production to make it part of the solution. It is time for a transition to organic farming and agroecology.
These infographics are co-financed by the European Union, under the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). The sole responsibility for this communication lies with IFOAM EU. The EASME is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.