Organic food, an important nutritional choice


“You are what you eat” is a popular saying that reflects a person’s general well-being, especially a person’s physical and mental health, which also depends on the type of food one eats.

Therefore, the source, type and quality of food or food products that a person consumes can affect their outlook.

On this festive occasion, our choice of food is essential because it will have a lot of impact on our health afterwards and in the new year.

The food we eat, as we all know, is produced by farmers who work tirelessly, ploughing, planting and harvesting food products that are packaged or processed in the market to feed society.

However, with various climatic conditions affecting food production as well as other facets of efforts, nations have explored many ways to increase production to meet the higher food demands of society.

Researchers around the world, and particularly in Ghana, have also contributed to the creation of breeds and varieties of food products like maize, yams, sweet potato, cassava, millet, sorghum and others fruits and vegetables to meet dietary needs.

Moreover, in an attempt to fill the food gap, exacerbated by climate change resulting from climate change, some scientists have also explored and advocated for genetically modified organism (GMO) products which have elicited many negative reactions.

However, organic products continue to enjoy a lot of goodwill from people around the world, with most stores and supermarkets parading organic products on their stables for the consuming public.

Switzerland, for example, had the highest per capita consumption of organic food of any country in the world in 2018. That year, the average Swiss and Danish consumer purchased around €312 worth of organic food. Sweden also ranked first in organic food consumption that same year.

Organic food is food produced using methods that meet organic farming standards, which are characterized by practices that recycle resources, promote ecological balance and preserve biodiversity.

The most commonly purchased organic foods would be fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. However, there are also many processed organic products available, such as sodas, cookies, and breakfast cereals.

Researchers say an organic food choice will help people avoid chemicals, get more nutrients, enjoy better taste, and avoid hormones, antibiotics and drugs in organic produce. animal origin.

Consuming organic products also preserves our ecosystems, reduces pollution and protects water and soil, as well as preserving agricultural diversity.

It is indeed a truism that organic foods are a smart priority and an effective choice for personal and planetary health.

Therefore, consuming organically grown foods that are free from harmful chemicals, packed with more nutrition, taste, and ecological sustenance is a direct endorsement for instant health and overall well-being.

In addition, the choice of organic animal products is considered extremely important, especially for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Therefore, the best way to avoid the cocktail of chemical poisons found in commercially grown foods is to eat organically grown foods, which are known to contain more nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes and micronutrients.

Indeed, in organic farming, the soil is managed and nurtured with sustainable practices according to responsible standards.

Arguably, agricultural chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers contaminate our environment, poison our precious water supplies and destroy the value of fertile farmland, while certified organic standards do not allow the use of toxic chemicals in agriculture and require responsible management of healthy soils and biodiversity.

According to experts, compared to conventionally grown produce, organic produce has lower detectable levels of pesticide residues.

It is therefore encouraging that a good part of society believes that organic food and feed is the best way forward and, therefore, will jump at any opportunity to guarantee them access to organic products to improve their well-being. -be nutritional.

But the problem with most consumers is where to buy these authentic organic products and how to know that these products are genuine.

This is why the introduction of Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) certification, launched recently in Accra, to certify and boost organic products in Ghana is welcome.

PGS certification is a locally focused assurance scheme that certifies organic producers and processors in Ghana and ensures that these farmers subscribe to organic and agroecological principles.

A GSP label on any product would thus allow consumers to identify a truly organic product they are buying.

Certification of organic products under the GSP was based on the active participation of stakeholders and built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange, as such groups of GSP farmers by practice, accept to adhere to a production standard, which is transparent. to all members of the community.

With the launch, a number of producers have also been trained and certified as SGP organic producers across the country, and as such consumers could go ahead and look for SGP labels on their favorite organic products. .

At the launch, Ms. Olawami Benedict, the coordinator of the SGP in Ghana, explained that the system represents the local verification mechanism that assures consumers of organic products in local markets.

She indicated that the PGS was being implemented in the country within the framework of the Organic Markets for Development (OM4D) of the International Federation of the Organic Agriculture Movement-Organics International (IFOAM) in partnership with the Agro Eco-Louis Bolk Institute. .

The launch program was however supported by GIZ’s Market Oriented Agricultural Program (MOAP) and the Agro-Eco Louis Bolk Institute.

Dr Elke Stumpf, Program Manager, GIZ-MOAP, said promoting organic products had been a priority area for GIZ because organic farming was climate-smart agriculture that helps tackle climate change. .

She said MOAP also helps farmers and processors prepare for organic certification, as it serves as a gateway to access high-end markets.

Consumption trends, she said, showed that most Ghanaians preferred organic produce if they could access it and trust the source, adding that there was huge potential for organic farming in the country. Ghana.

Dr Solomon Gyan-Ansah, Deputy Director of Crop Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said PGS certification would go a long way in increasing consumer confidence in the consumption of food and crop products. locally “to help us increase the income level of our farmers, create more jobs and further increase the performance and value of our national production on a global level”.

He added that increasing health problems and changing eating habits of citizens have created opportunities for organic farmers in the country, especially for fruits and vegetables.

He said the government, as part of its “Food and Jobs Investment Plan 2018 to 2021, was therefore investing in the promotion and expansion of organic farming to enable producers to access to the growing organic market, adding that the investments were made with development support and strategic partner to foster agricultural growth and development.

Sharing her experience with the Ghana News Agency as an organic vegetable grower who has been in the industry for over six years, Naa Anyeley Enti, CEO of Garden 2 Plates, said her business was born out of a passion for gardening and good food. food.

“All our products are grown on site with clean running water. The main objective is to bring different but delicious varieties of lettuce to market at affordable prices. We offer a selection of handpicked seasonal vegetables made to order,” said Naa, who is a biochemist by profession.

She mentioned that some of her homegrown vegetables include Kaiser, mixed leaves, sprout salad, lettuce, and romaine lettuce. “When in season, we also offer cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower, tomatoes and kale,” she added.

Naa therefore believes that the PGS system came to help bring integrity and trust to the organic market, adding that most allergy sufferers saw their allergies “disappear when they started consuming organic products. .

All Ghanaians are advised to seek out and purchase PGS certified organic products to support the PGS program which directs us towards finding a good source of organic products to improve our physical and mental well-being.

In doing so, we also promote and uphold the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 1-No poverty, Goal 2-Zero hunger, Goal 3-Good health and well-being, Goal 8-Decent work and economic growth, Goal 12 – Responsible consumption and production, Goal 13 – Climate action, Goal 15 – Life on land and Goal 17 – Promote partnerships.

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