While the consumers in Denmark and Sweden find all basic milk products in an organic variant, consumers in Norway, Finland and Iceland must look a bit harder to find organic versions of milk and other organic goods. That is the result of a recent published report from Norwegian Bioforsk.
In the report “Økologisk mat i de nordiske landene” the Nordic market for organic products is investigated. Differences between Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweeden are illustrated by comparing factors such as political goals, follow-up of these, national production of organic products and strategies for sales promotion and consumer preferences.
In a broad sense, the organic market is experiencing success in the northern countries. However, there is still a big difference in the consumer’s access to organic products.
Denmark and Sweden are called pioneer countries in the organic arena. Norway and Finland can show the same percentage-wise progress in the number of sold organic products as Denmark and Sweden, however, the four countries came from very different starting points, which explains the difference in the organic selection.
The report underlines three factors as crucial for an increase in the sale of organic products:
Public catering centres’ use of organic products
Focus on organic products in supermarkets
An increase in sale is self-perpetuating and will again increase sale and the general interest for organic products.
With a brand new Research Programme for Organic Food and Farming, Finland has charted the course for organic research in the years to follow.
The 2014–2018 programme lays down guidelines for research cooperation between organic researchers and funding providers - national and international. Thus, it is not a funding instrument in itself, but rather serves as a document on whose basis research acticities can be steered. It has been written in collaboration with the organic food and farming sectors and its needs and therefore expresses the shared intent of these actors.
Finnish Organic Research Institute coordinates the research, monitors the progress of the Research Programme and reports on such progress annually.
Below you see how the four research themes
have been merged to form a larger theme combinations:
Figure: Luomuinstituutti, from the Research Programme 2014-2018.
One hundred percent organic farming would be a disaster for future food security and pressure the environment at a high cost.
The argument is given in an opinion piece in the swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet by four researchers related to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). The article has caused quite a lot of debate in the northern country, and other researchers from the same university countercharge their colleagues.
"They make a rough and inaccurate simplification," Maria Wivstad, director of SLU's Centre for organic food and farming says to the sweedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
Not only researchers participate in the debate - at the debate forum of Svenska Dagbladet there is a hot debate going on between people arguing for either organic or conventional, and
at a third sweedish newspaper, Sydsvenskan, Eva Salomon, researcher at EPOK (Centre for Organic Food and Farming) answers questions about organic.
How do we make organic mean sustainability? How can we disseminate organic research in a useful and understandable way? And what kind of developments has the organic research undergone the past 15 years?
Three questions, International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS) helped answer at the Organic World Congress, which recently took place in Istanbul.
The congress gathered more than 2500 people from the organic sector worldwide – Uganda, Italy, Switzerland, Bhutan, Denmark, USA and Peru just to mention a few.
The goal of the congress was defined by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements): to develop a new concept as to how we define our agricultural system, how we design our lives and strategize our future.
”It is critical that we, ICROFS, participate in the organic world congress. This is where networks are created, ideas founded and the course for the organic future is set. An international research center as ICROFS needs to participate and put our fingerprint on it,” Niels Halberg, director of ICROFS, says.
Among others, he contributed at one of the congress seminars with his suggestion as to how we can create a consciousness in which organic also mean sustainable.
”The organic movement needs to step up in order to continue to have a say in the development of sustainable food systems,” he emphasizes.
Sustainability in Agriculture is an unsolved challenge despite growing evidence of the need for a paradigm shift towards new production systems that put ecological resources, rural societies, cultural expressions, public social welfare and the economic viability of smallholder family farming in the foreground.
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements now calls for a new Programs Manager to be responsible for IFOAM's program strategy and portfolio development and its implementation together with the young but quickly growing Programs Department.
As part of the IFOAM management team, the Program Manager also contributes to IFOAM's strategic direction.
New methods can detect whether or not a plant is organically grown. The methods have been developed by the research project AuthenticFood within the CORE Organic network and the preliminary results were presented at a scientific seminar in Stockholm last week. So far been the methods have been successfully tested in tomatoes.
“We have developed and tested a portfolio of analytical methods such as stable isotope analysis of nitrogen and oxygen in specific plant compounds,” the project manager Kristian Holst Laursen explained.
“This work has shown that several methods are much better at discriminating the chemical composition of organic and conventional plants than the traditional pesticide residue analysis,” he told.
Despite several attempts to develop suitable analytical methods for organic authentication, pesticide residue analysis is still the most popular approach.
Pesticide residue anaysis is insufficient
“But in some cases you actually find organically produced products which contain pesticide residues and conventional products which do not,” Mr. Laursen said.
Pesticide residue analysis does show whether the pesticides originate from the soil, the water or even from air pollution from surrounding conventional fields. Therefore, the analysis cannot reveal if an organic plant product has been produced according to the organic rules.
The final results of the research are still pending, but Kristian Holst Laursen and the AuthenticFood consortium will now encourage certification and inspection bodies to complement the insufficiently sensitive pesticide residue analysis with the new methods.
Eleven European research projects have been awarded 11.3 mio. euro for research in organig farming and food systems. The projects were selected at a meeting for the 22 CORE Organic Plus funding bodiesin Stockholm on 2 October 2014.
The research projects are expected to start between 1 January and 1 April 2015.
Spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a major food safety concern, but reports suggest that the restrictions in use of antibiotics in organic animal farming promote lower levels of antibiotic resistance compared to the conventional production.
SafeOrganic partners from Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden and Czech Rep. have been investigating this and are now ready to show the results at the Closing Seminar in Copenhagen 30 October.
Join the seminar of the SafeOrganic project “Restrictive use of antibiotics in organic animal farming – a potential for safer, high quality products with less antibiotic resistant bacteria”.
At the seminar results will be presentet and discussed.
SafeOrganic is funded by the CORE Organic II (Coordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming systems) Funding Bodies, being partners of the FP7 ERA-Net project.
Conference on insects - a new driver in the bioeconomy On Thursday, 13 November the Danish Technological Institute and inSPIRe Innovation Community will host a conference on insects. This 1-day conference will focus on the current opportunities and barriers of insect production, and display their potential within various segments of the food and feed sectors.
One of the speakers will be Lotte Bjerrum, who’s the project leader of the ORGANIC RDD-project BioConVal. She will present new research on the conversion of chicken manure by fly larvae.
Head of Organic Unit at Landbrug og Fødevarer, Kirsten Lund Jensen, has been appointed chairwoman of the Programme Committee of ICROFS.
She will succeed Michael Stevns.
The new appointment will to a greater extent bring together the International Board and the Programme Committee of ICROFS, given that Kirsten Lund Jensen has also been a member of the board since October 2013.
The seminar is aimed at researchers and other experts of
the whole food chain as well as politicians and officers of
the governmental bodies on food and farming for
and sharing their expertise with others.
The updated seminar programme with poster exhibition and workshops is now available. All the participants are called to submit their abstracts for Scientific Seminar on Organic Food 2014 by 30 September.
New Communications Manager at ICROFS Marie-Louise Andersen is the temporary Communications Manager at ICROFS. She will be covering for Camilla Mathiesen who is on maternity leave until September 2015.
Marie-Louise Andersen comes from a position as journalist at the newspaper Århus Stiftstidende. She has a Master's Degree in Journalism.
The European Commission is launching a call for experts such as farmers, advisers, scientists and other relevant actors for four new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups. The Focus Groups will begin their work in November-December 2014 and are expected to present their results and recommendations within 12-18 months. Candidates for each of the Focus Groups below are invited to apply in accordance to the rules set out in this notice for the purpose specified.
The purpose of a Focus Group is to explore practical innovative solutions to problems or opportunities and to draw on and share experience gained from relevant innovative projects.
Organic Agricultural Centre of Canada has announced the official launch of Canada's Organic Science Cluster II. The first program ran from 2009-2013 and the new is running from 2013-2018.
With support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Growing Forward 2 (GF2) program and over 65 industry partners, the Organic Science Cluster II spans the country and will continue to strengthen the science behind organic agriculture in Canada.
A new peer-reviewed scientific study published in the British Journal of Nutrition concludes that organic crops are of a much higher nutritional quality than their non-organic counterparts. Organic crops contain significantly higher concentrations of nutritionally
desirable antioxidants and lower levels of undesirable cadmium (a toxic heavy metal) and pesticide residues.
Do you want to share an interesting story?
The magazine Farming Matters calls for articles for the December 2014 issue. The magazine is published by the AgriCultures Network.
Each issue offers an opportunity to publish interesting field-based cases from all corners of the world. Articles for the December 2014 issue of Farming Matters should be sent to the editors before 1 September 2014.
A new research project with joint participation from Aarhus University and Kongskilde Industries aims to improve the effectiveness of mechanical crop field weeding. The project hinges on the development of new cutting solutions to improve the effectiveness against weeds when cultivating narrowly separated rows. Read more
New research: Gains to species diversity in
organically farmed fields are not propagated at the farm level
A team including researchers from Aberystwyth University's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) have found that diversity of habitats is more
important than organic status for farm wildlife. Read the report.
New Communications Manager at the ICROFS Secretariat
Nina Hermansen is the temperary Communications Manager at ICROFS. She is covering for Camilla Mathiesen who is on maternity leave until September 2015.
Nina Hermansen comes from a position as Communication Partner at the Department of Political Science and Government, Aarhus University. She has a Master's Degree in Journalism.
Core Organic II is hosting an international seminar
on European Organic Research Conclusions, Implementation and Future Collaborations. During the seminar, project leaders from EU countries will present and discuss the achievements from the 14 research projects supported
by CORE Organic II.
Participation in the seminar is free and deadline
for registration is September 15.