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International competition and ethics of production: Is organic agriculture an exception?

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Authors: P. Sans, B. Sylvander
Issue: 98V-1 (44-53)
Topic: Plant Production
Keywords: Organic agriculture, world trade, tecnical barriers, standards

Organic farming is developing at different levels all around the World. Its products are subjected to international trade that is likely to be hampered by technical barriers such as the standards of production. This contribution is a thought on the current evolution of the harmonization / standardization of the rules of production at a world level. The authors show that this evolution is far from being completed and presents important obstacles: the definition of organic farming is not homogeneous world‑wide; the organization of the control of the production rules varies from one country to another. One of the reasons for these differences lies in the heterogeneity of the levels of economic development closely linked to the worry of the citizens and their governments: developing countries see organic farming as a way to provide their population with food thanks to a mode of production using less and less inputs. Al the same time, they can hope to hold some market shares in developed countries: then, they face rules of production and methods of assessment that are different from those into force in their countries. Thus, organic farming, far from being an exception, is fully concerned with the problems of the non‑tariff barriers for international trade. It is a subject of great importance for which professional organisations from the organic sector must worry about.

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