Organic farming on the up

Organic farming has been developing rapidly for the past five years, with 31 million hectares around the world. The fastest growth in this sector has been in the US, the home of «chemical» farming, where the total area farmed organically increased by 400,000 hectares between 2004 and 2005, reflecting consumers’ interest in having safer products and «cleaner» food in an increasingly polluted environment. A similar interest has been shown in Greece, where 4 percent of cultivated land is farmed organically, and consumption is increasing apace, as are imports. At the Agriculture University, organic farming courses, although optional, are chosen by most students. New certification agencies are appearing all the time, providing young graduates with job opportunities. Many students and graduates of the organic farming faculty at the Technical College on the island of Cephalonia are seeking study and practical training opportunities at the Agriculture University. The need for postgraduate training has become imperative, since there is nowhere in Greece with a postgraduate course in organic farming. (1) Assistant professor of organic farming at Athens’s Agriculture University.