Natural-Habitats
organic products grown in a sustainable habitat

Agricultural practices

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14 February 2014

farmers, cooking, social reponsibility, health

There is a direct connection between agricultural practices and health.
Firstly, agriculture produces outputs that contribute to good health, such as the staple foods that sustain most of the developing world, but some agricultural outputs may also lead to ill health when contaminated. Second, agriculture interacts with the environment in a variety of ways that affect human health. Third, agriculture affects the income earned and labor supplied by people who work in the sector—both of which provide opportunities and risks for good health. In this post, the most common practices in agriculture will be compared and contrasted. These are industrial are organic and sustainable agriculture.

Industrial agriculture is a modern type of agriculture which requires high inputs of money and labor saving technologies such as using pesticides instead of weeding and operating heavy machinery for planting and harvesting. This type of agriculture is able to produce food in high volume but has little to no regard for the environment, soil and water quality, or food safety. In other words, industrial agriculture often trades the health of consumers and rural communities, as well as the nutritional quality of the product, for the maximization of profits by creating economies of scale through the mechanization of processes.

In industrial agriculture, intensive use of fertilizers and pesticides are required for the fields. The use of fertilizers can increase the salinity of the soil, making any available nutrients inaccessible to plants and therefore requiring the application of even more fertilizers. Pesticides may kill pests in a field, but they also kill beneficial insects. In addition, pesticides can sometimes get passed on through the food chain and affect other animals and the health of individuals.

Thus, industrial agriculture is harmful for the environment and for our health. In contrast, organic and sustainable agriculture focuses on mimicking natural ecological processes in a sustainable manner. This entails avoiding the use of pesticides and fertilizers for alternative natural methods such as organic compost or green manure. In terms of sustainability, farmers implementing organic farming focus on:

Reducing waste by efficiently using resources by nurturing the presence of organisms that can help control crop by killing pests;
Recycling resources by using the organic waste for compost or manure preparation;
Reusing resources such as water in farms through drainage reuse systems.

Thus, organic and sustainable agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment– the health of soils, ecosystems and people by relying on ecological and natural processes to do so.

There is one more difference that has to be mentioned: the products grown through industrial agriculture contain pesticides residue. In an article by Horrigan, Lawrence and Walker (2002), the health hazards are researched for these types of products. Thus, “the pesticides used heavily in industrial agriculture are associated with elevated cancer risks for workers and consumers and are coming under greater scrutiny for their links to endocrine disruption and reproductive dysfunction.” In contrast, organic food is 100% natural, as it does not contain any chemical additives, with no artificial colors or preservatives – all organic farming methods using only natural ingredients in order to control and prevent the crop being damaged. Dr. Oz asserts that organic foods have 94% fewer health risks than conventional foods.

All in all, it is time to take action to save the environment and protect our health at the same by choosing organic products. Organic products are certified in order to proactively create a control system to ensure environmental care. Meeting these standards not only shows the producer’s commitment to a healthy and more sustainable planet but it in addition, it also assures consumers and buyers that the agricultural produce meets stringent certification requirements. In this aspect, Natural Habitats provides with certified organic, fair-trade and sustainable palm oil. More information about organic certifications can be found here .

 

Blog & News

Palm Oil Is Everywhere

Palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) originates from West Africa. Once planted, after 3-4 years’ palm oil trees start to producing its first fruits and will continue all year-round for up to 30 years. Oil Palm is high yielding; it produces more oil per hectare than any other major oil seed crop.

Did you know that half of your items in your house contain palm oil?
Palm oil is also the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet

farmers, social reponsibility, environment, organic

Why Farm Organically?

With a growing population, nearly 10 billion people by 2050, and an increasing demand for food, agriculture is placed under extreme pressure. We heavily rely on services that the industry provides to us, such as food, clothes, wood, and many others. Unfortunately, with biodiversity losses and deforestation practices that accompany modern agriculture, these services are currently at risk. Therefore, we must take actions to sustain biodiversity, soils and forests for the generations to come

social reponsibility, environment, farmers, organic

An Important Role of Intercropping in Modern Agriculture

Population of our planet is constantly growing. The threat of insufficient food supply in the near future encourages intensification of the search for more productive agricultural technics. At Natural Habitats, we believe that well-planned intercropping is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to increase agricultural productivity.

Intercropping, as well as other forms of multiple cropping, is an ancient method of intensive agriculture that involves cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field

environment, farmers

Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

Deforestation caused by many palm-oil producers, harming wildlife habitats, has been a widespread concern around the world. However, more and more palm oil is now being sourced sustainably with a help of the certification initiative promoted by a non-profit association Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) that aims to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. Natural Habitats as 100% organic and sustainable producer was certified with RSPO standard in 2013.

In May 2013, Natural Habitats in Ecuador (Exportsustent) together with Solidaridad and National Association of Oil Palm Growers (ANCUPA) developed a pioneering project Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

farmers, environment, partnership, social reponsibility

An Ongoing Education of Farmers

Natural Habitats believes in doing business in harmony with the environment. This is the reason for us to continuously encourage smallholder farmers in Ecuador and Sierra Leone into getting involved in organic and sustainable production of palm oil.

On a regular basis, we educate and train our smallholder farmers in nature preservation and organic farming practices for not only their own good but for the betterment of the society

farmers, partnership, social reponsibility

Fair Trade Explained

Today, we are surrounded by numerous certifications on the products we buy at supermarkets. It is getting more and more confusing to figure out what exactly most of them stand for. Some labels are self-explanatory and some are not. Fair for Life Social and FairTrade certification belongs to the second category. Therefore, most of the consumers do not even realize that while they purchase Fair for Life or FairTrade certified products they contribute to the empowerment of poor around the world

farmers, social reponsibility, environment

Why Healthy Palm Oil is not an Oxymoron

When people hear about palm oil the first thing that usually comes to their mind is heart disease. The logic is pretty simple: fifty per cent of the oil consists of saturated fat that supposed to be bad for the heart, therefore, palm oil causes heart disease. However, numerous studies continue to confirm that palm oil does not promote heart problems and, if anything, it protects against them

cooking, health

Sustaining Food Security

Pressure on the world’s food supply is constantly increasing due to population growth, changing diets and government policies promoting biofuels. Current estimates suggest that by 2050 the food demand will be twice what it was in 2005. Biotech companies have strongly promoted the idea that genetically engineered (GE) crops are the key to “feeding the world”. According to Environmental Working Group , recent studies show that this promise has fallen flat

environment, farmers, social reponsibility