We give you 9 explanations to make sense of prices for organic food – and why organic food may be expensive than conventional food. Will this change your mind about putting down the additional dirham?
Fewer chemicals = more labor
Conventional farmers use all of those chemicals and synthetic pesticides because they end up reducing the cost of production by getting the job done faster and more efficiently. Using fewer chemicals, organic farmers have to hire more workers for tasks like hand-weeding, cleanup of polluted water, and the remediation of pesticide contamination.
Demand overwhelms supply
Retail sales of organic food are rising rapidly, and more people prefer to eat organic to non-organic food. However, organic farmland worldwide only accounts for 0.9 percent of total worldwide farmland, and organic farms tend to produce less than conventional farms.
Higher cost of fertilizer for organic crops
Conventional farmers use sewage sludge and chemical fertilizers because they are cheaper to produce and to transport. Organic farmers have to use more costly procedures to keep their crops natural and instead use compost and animal manure, which is more expensive to ship.
Instead of using chemical weedkillers, organic farmers conduct sophisticated crop rotations to keep their soil healthy and prevent weed growth. After harvesting a crop, an organic farmer may use that area to grow "cover crops," which add nitrogen to the soil to benefit succeeding crops. Conventional farmers, on the other hand, can use every acre to grow the most profitable crops.
Because crop rotation reduces the frequency in which organic farmers can grow profitable crops, they’re unable to produce the larger quantities that are most cost-effective for conventional farmers.
Post-harvest handling cost
To avoid cross-contamination, organic produce must be separated from conventional produce after being harvested. Conventional crops are shipped in larger quantities since conventional farms can produce more. Organic crops, however, are handled and shipped in smaller quantities since organic farms tend to produce less, and this results in higher costs. Additionally, organic farms are usually located farther from major cities, increasing the shipping cost.
Acquiring organic certification is no easy — or cheap — task. In addition to the usual farming operations, farm facilities and production methods must comply with certain standards, which may require the modification of facilities. Employees must be hired to maintain strict daily record keeping that must be available for inspection at any time. And organic farms must pay an annual inspection/certification fee.
Cost of covering higher loss
Conventional farmers use certain chemicals to reduce their loss of crops. For example, synthetic pesticides repel insects and antibiotics maintain the health of the livestock. Since organic farmers don’t use these, their losses are higher, which costs the farmer more and increases the cost to the consumer. Additionally, without all the chemical preservatives added to conventional foods, organic foods face a shorter storage time and shelf life.
Better living conditions for livestock
Higher standards for animal welfare also mean higher costs for organic farms. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, organic feed for cattle and other livestock can cost twice as much as conventional feed.
Organic food grows more slowly
Time is money! Not only are organic farms typically smaller than conventional ones, but they also, on average, take more time to produce crops because they refrain from using the chemicals and growth hormones used by conventional farmers.
Certification regulations for organic food vary worldwide, and there are hundreds of different government and non-government certifications, each with different prohibited substance and production method lists. Standards vary dependent on the country of origin of your organic food.
If your organic food has been given a certification label, you should be able to find that label, either on the product or in the shop selling the product. If you are not able to see it, just ask for it – this is your right as a healthy conscious consumer.
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We give you 9 reasons why paying more for organic products makes sense.
Your body rely on you to get vital nutrients from the food you eat. Your body takes care of millions of biological processes every day. Each process depends on certain components and building blocks - which you can only get from fresh, nutritious food, prepared in the right way.
Processed and industrialised prepared food does not give your body what it needs. It is not real food - it cannot give your body fuel to the millions of vital processes to function optimally. Poor quality food does not feed your body well - it only fills your stomach!