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FiBL and Korean partners: Organic strategies for fruit orchards

2 men stand at a table and present the signed agreements. THe table is decorated with a Swiss and a South Korean flag as well as some flowers.

The research agreements on organic fruit farming were signed by Dong Whan Suh, research director of the Korean institute GBARES, and by Urs Niggli, director of FiBL. (Photo: FiBL, Franziska Hämmerli)

3 men are standing at the edge of a fruit orchard and having a conversation.

Discussions regarding cultivation technique and plant protection: The Korean project partners Dr Suh (left) and Dr Ryu (right) on a farm visit in the organic stone fruit production of Bruno Wirth (middle) in Olsberg, Switzerland. (Photo: FiBL, Hans-Jakob Schärer)

In a new project, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) will cooperate with Korea to test fruit varieties and plant protection agents. FiBL and its Korean research partners signed a long-term cooperation agreement as well as a second cooperation project. The first project was completed successfully in 2014.

FiBL has contributed before to an international cooperation project supported by Korea. "Our Korean research partners have excellent equipment and training," Hans-Jakob Schärer says. He is the project leader and an expert in plant protection at FiBL. "They can benefit from our knowledge on functional biodiversity and our experiences in working with organic plant protection agents. We can benefit from exchanging fruit varieties and from an additional series of tests on the effectiveness of organic plant protection agents."

The new project, set to be completed in 2019, is dedicated mainly to two fruit diseases: Marssonina and Monilia, which causes blossom and twig blight as well as fruit rot. Marsonnina will be examined on pome fruits like apples, Monilia on stone fruits like cherries, apricots, peaches and plums. Within the project, different application strategies for the most important plant protection agents allowed in organic farming will be reviewed. Additionally, the population genetics of Marssonina will be examined and the resistance and susceptibility of varieties will be tested.

FiBL’s partner in the project "Development of Integrated Management for Organic Fruit Production" is the research centre Gyeongsangbuk-do Agricultural Research and Extension Services (GBARES).
In 2014, the project "Using functional agro-biodiversity (FAB) to improve organic apple production" was successfully completed after two and a half years. "However, we still require further research to make functional biodiversity fit for practice under Korean conditions," says Lukas Pfiffner, agricultural ecologist and one of the project leaders. Functional biodiversity means that fruit orchards are surrounded by specifically designed flower strips and hedges in order to promote beneficial animals that control major fruit pests. Thanks to the collaboration with the Korean Rural Development Administration (RDA) and the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAS), this thematic area was made accessible for the Korean partners, who now test their locally adapted solutions.

Further information


Hans-Jakob Schärer, FiBL Switzerland