Part 1: Summary
While organic agriculture is closely related to sustainable agriculture, there are key differences. Depending on the region, there may be certain laws in place that distinguish organic practices that are required, along with farming practices that are prohibited (1). There may be third-party certifiers to monitor the practices. Generally, organic farmers need to rotate crops to improve soil quality and manage pests (1). They also need to keep record of operation and minimize off-farm inputs while refraining from using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms (1).
During the Second African Organic Conference in May 2012, representatives from 35 countries discussed the importance of organic agriculture for issues including poverty reduction, climate change adaptation, and preservation of indigenous knowledge (2). AfroNet (African Organic Network) is now established as a network for organic stakeholders throughout Africa. While high external input chemical systems could increase food production in Africa, small-scale organic techniques can improve low resource consumption, market linkages, and economic independence of farmers (2). AfroNet and other partners established the African Organic Action Plan to improve research, training, communication, partnership, and capacity development among farmers and the general public (2).
Part 2: Application to Greenhouses
By refraining from genetically modified plants, fertilizers, and pesticides, you will be on the path to sustaining an organic greenhouse operation. The limited water usage from the drip-irrigation technology further aligns with the organic farming goal of limiting inputs. There is also room to rotate crops within greenhouses to improve soil quality and reduce pests.