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Tariff Reduction Boosts Organic Farming

International trade is a thorny issue at best, resulting in many unfair practices that affects the livelihood of so many of the world's most at-risk populations, leading to calls for tariff reductions and fair trade agreements that would boost organic farming.

Eradicating poverty by encouraging organic farming is acknowledged by the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as a proven method since selling prices of produce are substantially higher, and more people are employed, lifting community wealth as well.

At present, produce shipped across international boundaries is subject to tariffs of varying amounts, that are intended as a form of tax, supposedly to protect or build up local industries. In practice however, those who benefit from tariffs are often corrupt politicians, national treasuries, or large corporations able to reduce their exposure through knowing the system.

Large scale industrial farming employs very few, removes opportunities for rural employment, and is seen as a great polluter. Organic farming in contrast employs more, is less harmful on the environment, and profitability is roughly the same owing to slightly higher prices at market.

Reducing tariffs on organically grown produce is the goal of many aid agencies, fair trade co-operatives and environmentalists. Surprisingly, organic farmers in the developed world also support tariff reductions. Many smaller countries are net importers of food from developed nations, a market that many organic farmers are excluded from due to higher tariffs.

Organic Farming

On the other side of the equation, organic farmers in developing countries are often not able to sell their produce in markets developed markets because tariffs make their produce too expensive. The fair trade movement has made some gains in supporting organic farmers in developing countries, but more still needs to be done.

Organic farmers and consumers worldwide will benefit from tariff reduction's and the environment might even benefit as more farmers abandon industrial farming practices.

Howard Farmer
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