For some years, agricultural production systems applied to the crop field have been evolving, due to the need to respect the environment and consumer demand, increasingly aware of the consumption of more natural products.
The general awareness of producers and consumers to promote the use of more respectful techniques is present even in the area of so-called “conventional production”, which has no restrictions on the use of chemical products.
Every day, most modern and innovative techniques are used, and many of them pursue, not only the obtaining of products with which to meet the demand of the conscious consumer but, at the same time, preserve the natural environment.
The question is to find the balance between a production with a natural vocation and respectful with the environment, responding to the demand of the conscious consumer as well as making the production process profitable. This means obtaining high quality products that guarantee food safety and preserving the agrosystem through the elimination or controlled use of polluting products.
At first glance, everything points to the fact that we are talking exclusively about so-called “organic production”, but this is not exactly the case, or it is not at all, since, as we will see, there are some nuances and other alternative methods which pursue the same purposes. We are talking about another cultivation system whose name is much less known to many and that responds to the name of “Integrated production”.
In general terms, we can say that integrated production is an agricultural system between the intensive (conventional) production system and the organic production system. Let’s see what’s the meaning and the differences with the organic production method.
As we said, the objectives pursued are practically the same, but their implementation shows some substantial differences.
First, we must highlight its scope, where we find substantial differences, since while organic production covers a wider scope, (the entire agricultural sector), integrated production is limited exclusively to the production of plant foods, without entering the livestock area.
As far as organic production is concerned, there is a maxim: the exhaustive prohibition on the use of so-called “synthetic products”, that is, those chemicals designed to protect the field from pests or to be used as fertilizers. In both cases, the organic production system is forced to use organic and natural products.These products are, for example, manure or green manures. Herein lies one of the most important differences between both types of production, since in the case of integrated production, the use of this type of product is allowed, although it is true that they are properly regulated and need sufficient justification for their use.
But its justification not only responds to the use or not of certain products to carry out production, but many other factors are involved, such as the use of water, land or landscape, as well as different work techniques.
Despite the differences between integrated and conventional production, in some countries with a high degree of awareness regarding the care and preservation of the environment, integrated agriculture is seen as a “unattractive” production system, which does not go beyond the one used for life. These, associate a high quality and respectful product, exclusively 100% organic.