The Falkland Islands could become the world's first accredited organic country, partly through prudent farming methods, partly by accident, as was explained to the recent Falklands Economic Forum in London.
Within three years the Falkland Islands could possibly begin exporting organically attested wool, organic shellfish and a variety of meat, thanks to its quarter-of- a- million sheep, a quarter- of- a- million geese, healthy reindeer from South Georgia, the wild llama of South America, vast quantities of calcified seaweed, and such common garden plants as lupins.
This could be a vital boost to the depressed farming community by opening up valuable markets internationally for their products, as organic farming enjoys growing support from environmentalists and housewives eager for healthy food. In a world fearful of contamination from BSE in cattle and genetically modified crops, the Falkland Islands could become a model of natural husbandry in its pristine South Atlantic isolation, free from chemical contamination, in contrast to crowded, developed, vulnerable nations in other parts of the world.
At present, virtually no agri-chemicals are used (except in the Dairy Farm and the Hydroponics Market Garden) and sheep do not need to undergo organo-phosphorus dipping which is obligatory in Britain and elsewhere. The Islands Director of Agriculture, Bob Reid, told the Forum that the Islands are uniquely placed and naturally endowed to acquire organic national status. "It bodes well for our future", he declared.
Falklands Leads Argentina in Organic Agriculture.
Asked by Mercopress whether Argentina, one of the world's big four agricultural nations, could help the Falkland Islands, Mr Reid replied: "Frankly , no . We do not need Argentina. They probably need us more than we need them, to help them develop Southern Patagonia". He thought there could be a tripartite meeting on a scientific basis before too long in Punta Arenas with Chileans and Argentines, to get together to co-operate and help each other solve their problems instead of working separately.
Mr Reid said it was planned by the end of this year to set up a Falklands Organic Certification Body to meet European and international standards. A two-year waiting period would be required to confirm their organic credentials, and in two or three years they could be producing certified organic meat, wool and other produce.
He listed a