Pimpini et al - Organic vegetable production: evolution, base principles and quality of products

Ferdinando Pimpini*, Giorgio Gianquinto e Paolo Sambo
Dipartimento di Agronomia Ambientale e Produzioni Vegetali, Università di Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD)

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Key words: cropping systems, sustainability, food quality.

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Abstract

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This paper is aimed to discuss the organic vegetable production and at the same time to highlight the critical points of this agricultural system in Italy. The organic surface has been increasing in Italy in the past decades but reached a plateau around the year 2000. In the past two years, the land destined to organic cultivation has stabilized around 1.0 million hectares and only 1% of this land is used to produce vegetable crops. Although Italy is still the first European producer of organic vegetables, in the last two years the cultivated area showed a reduction by 20%. There are several directing principles that characterize organic farming. They include biodiversity, integration, sustainability, natural plant nutrition, natural pest management and integrity. Each of those principles needs to be understood, respected and well applied in order to perform a real organic farming and not only a “substitution agriculture” based merely on the replacement of agrochemicals by organic compounds. One of the most important reasons encouraging consumers to buy organic products is the perception that organic food has better nutritional and quality traits. The analysis of the scientific literature available showed that only few researches were carried out following rigorous experimental criteria. In most of the experiments, only the nitrate content resulted clearly reduced by using organic procedures. Vague and sometimes contradictory results has been reported on nutrients and vitamins content. Several authors suggest that more researches are needed to asses the real effects of organic techniques in terms of quality of the product, in order to get more scientific data on this topic which at moment seems to be more discussed than effectively studied.=9:l-orticoltura-biologica-evoluzione-principi-ispiratori-e-qualita-dei-prodotti&id=4:n-2-12-4-2005&Itemid=127"> Download (members only)

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