Argentina invests to boost organic crops
The Argentine Ministry of Agriculture is backing an investment programme to develop the organic farming industry. The Argentine programme, the PRODAO, was set up last year. It has so far carried out 12 R&D studies, including a few looking at the control of pests and diseases, such as Asian soybean rust ( Phakopsora pachyrhizi), citrus canker ( Xanthomonas citri pv citri), and Varroa mites ( Varroa destructor), which attack bees. The PRODAO aims to facilitate: a larger area for organic crops; the generation of a critical mass of specialist workers across regions; raising the value and volume of exports; increasing the availability of organic products domestically; and sustainable farming. Argentina planted 2.9 million ha of organic crops in 2007.