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Go Green – Go Organic !!

After the junk food, it is the organic food that is taking not only the rich and famous by the storm, but even the not-so-rich are falling prey to it. What is organic food and why is it being popular? The organic movement is a global trend with exceptional success in Japan, Britain, and other Asian countries. Around the world, consumers are showing that they want, and will often pay more for, products that are healthy, wholesome, flavorful, and grown and produced in ways that protect and restore the environment for a sustainable future.

Organic farming means growing crops that are in harmony with nature without using artificial pesticides, herbicides. These foods are grown in farms or even home gardens. Organically grown foods are eco-friendly. Going for organic produce is a positive approach and a respectable gesture of showing one’s concern for the environment, that’s for sure. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an international organization established in 1972 for organic farming organizations defines goal of organic farming as, “Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved..”. Myanmar is catching up fast, with upwardly mobile and conscious people who are making this intelligent lifestyle shift of consuming organic foods. Myanmar organic agriculture developed quite late. As early as mid 1990s, several foreign investors had tried to initiate organic agriculture projects in Myanmar, hoping to utilize the clean environment and good soil fertility but most of these private projects did not last long. However, they helped to raise awareness within the country, especially among the private sector. Also, many representatives from both the public and private sectors have been exposed to the concept of organic farming and the market opportunities when travelling overseas. These help to incubate the local organic agriculture movements in Myanmar.

According to the website www.greennet. or.th “Organic farming is seen as a form of sustainable farming practices, together with agro-forestry, mix farming, and natural farming. Meanwhile, the growth of organic agriculture in EU (European Union) and the US, especially the emergence of market opportunities, has created some interest for agribusiness to initiate organic projects in order to capture the early market niche abroad”.

In the advanced countries, organic products are sold at supermarkets and in the gourmet shops. In fact, there’s an organic choice in almost every food and beverage. Seeing the craze for organic foods, the question arises are organic foods healthier than conventional foods? Most health professionals believe that ‘’healthier’ does not necessarily mean more nutritious. It means safer for human consumption. The use of pesticides creates arthritis, food allergy and health hazards. Organic food is more natural, healthy and safer. Organic food does get sprayed but not with the regular chemical insecticides and pesticides. Only certified biological sprays which are natural & animal or plant-based are used. And the quantity or the dose of these natural sprays is also very controlled or else even these can leave residues in the food. As compared to a longer time conventionally grown food, organic food is much richer in nutrients. Nutritional value of a food item is determined by its mineral and vitamin content. Organic farming enhances the nutrients of the soil which is passed on to the plants and animals.

The reason for organic food being the choice of the rich is that it is grown without the use of any synthetic pesticides or insecticides. It is more labour-intensive and therefore more expensive than the conventional food. Also, very often the yields of an organic produce is significantly lower than that grown under non-organic conditions. By choosing the option of having organic foods, one is basically choosing a natural living lifestyle. The economic viability of organic farming is getting better and better. “It is a viable alternative to conventional farming because it’s an economical resource that can empower people to build healthy soil, produce healthy food, and sustain human and environmental health” says John Haberern, president of The Rodale Institute, Pennsylvania, USA. “The future of organic is very, very solid in spite of level sales,” says Richard Wiswall author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: A Complete Guide Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff – and Making a Profit. Wiswall is against GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), which according to him are a “very dark cloud” for the organic farmer because GMOs operate outside the boundaries of nature. For environmental and humanitarian reasons, organic makes sense.

The following organic products are the most popular ones:

Chicken And eggs: Organic chicken feed is free from growth promoters and antibacterial and the risk of salmonella is also decreased in organically-raised chickens. Hens kept in smaller flocks and allowed access to the open air and fresh grass which is vital to avoid significant animal welfare problems, produce organic eggs. Such eggs have significant vitamin E content in them. Tea and Coffee: According to a research in South America and Asia, tea and coffee are subjected to enormous chemical doses, some of which are banned in the West. Organically grown tea and coffee are not sprayed with such chemicals and therefore are much safer to have.

Beef and Lamb: Typically, cows are fed on high protein, processed diet. By choosing organic beef, you can be sure it will have been fed a natural diet and be lower in chemical residues as a result. Grass-fed beef has been found to be lower in artery-clogging saturated fat. Organic sheep aren’t dipped into organo-phosphorus pesticides as conventional sheep are- every year.

Bathrobe and Bath Towels: Surprising but true. Even organic bath towels and bathrobes are available. They are organic because they are untreated, unbleached, undyed and made of organic cotton fibre. Their fibres have not been brittled by bleaches or dyes and have retained the protective natural oils in the fibre making them ultra soft and allergy- free.