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The paper outlines the positive contributions of organic agriculture in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It draws upon empirical evidence from a series of studies financed by the Asian Development Bank Institute in 2005–2006 showing the benefits of organic agricultural practices and contract farming of organic agriculture products in selected Asian countries. The case studies showed that organic agriculture helped lead these countries toward the path of achieving their respective development goals, particularly the Millennium Development Goals, by 2015.

The positive impacts of organic agriculture on health, incomes, and the environment are facilitated by its own well defined standards and market-based certification systems which ensure premium prices for organic producers. This has helped achieve high consumer awareness of its benefits and increased consumer demand both in developed and developing countries. Most importantly, organic agriculture fosters gender equality as it creates meaningful work (diverse tasks). It offers economic opportunities (low costs); promotes health (no synthetic chemicals); encourages biodiversity and traditional knowledge (retention of traditional seeds and farming practices); and ensures equitable work standards (equal wages and opportunities). This is particularly true for farmers, especially women, in small farming communities.

Beyond 2015, the commitment of governments to fight for a sustainable and poverty-free world continues in the SDGs. This makes organic agriculture a crucial development strategy in the SDGs era.


Suggested Citation
Setboonsarng, S., & Gregorio, E. E. (2017). Achieving sustainable development goals through organic agriculture: Empowering poor women to build the future (ADB Southeast Asia Working Paper Series No. 15). Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Asian Development Bank.

Required Publisher's Statement
© Asian Development Back. Available at ADB’s Open Access Repository under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 3.0 IGO).