With nine billion mouths to feed by 2050 organic farming isn’t everyone’s first choice food security solution.
But critics take note: worldwide sales of $72 billion (£50 billion) in 2013 will double by 2018 as interest in the low-yielding but eco-friendly systems continues to rise.
Though this won’t be enough to feed the planet, researchers at Washington State University in the US said that criticism of the potential yields needs to be put in the context of the environmental advantages from farming organically.
“[…] some contend that the environmental advantages of organic agriculture far outweigh the lower yields, and that increasing research and breeding resources for organic systems would reduce the yield gap,” the authors note in their paper published in the journal Nature.
As well as enhanced yields, the future of organic farming also rests on price premiums, labour costs and favourable government policies, they said.
The findings come ahead of the Soil Association’s 2016 market report, which will be published later this month.