At a recent conference in Berlin, Germany, the issue of organic data collection and processing and possibilities of improvements was discussed. It became obvious that the relevant authorities are highly interested in collecting and processing of statistical data on organic farming but that there is a great need for harmonisation of data collection - both on a national and on a European level. The event had been organised by the project European Information systems for Organic Markets (EISFOM), funded by the European Commission.
The seminar had more than 100 participants, including representatives of the European Commission, Eurostat, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), of statistical offices and competent authorities, as well as researchers and stakeholders of the Organic Sector. FiBL is involved in the project as a partner.
By the end of 2002, more than 5.5 million hectares were managed organically by more than 160,000 farms in the 25 countries of the European Union, according to new figures from the Institute of Rural Sciences at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. This constituted almost 3.4% of the agricultural area and 1.7% of the farms in the EU. Compared to the previous year, this is an increase of 9% in the 25 European Union countries, mainly due to strong growth in France, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Conclusions from the seminar were among others that detailed reporting under EU regulation 2092/91 should be mandatory, that there should cooperation / harmonisation of organic data with existing data collection systems and access to data should be improved. Case studies of some of the most innovative approaches presented at the conference will now be made to see what lessons can be learned for wider application.
The next EISFOM seminar will take place in October 2005 in Brussels. It will define a framework for a European Information System for Organic Markets. Further information is available from the EISFOM Homepage.
The conference proceedings including all papers as well as the results of the discussions and conclusions will be published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLr. The proceedings will be available both at the project homepage as well as the database ‘Organic Eprints’.
EISFOM is an EU-funded Concerted Action whose aim is to develop a framework for reporting valid and reliable production and market data on the European organic sector, in order to meet the needs of policy makers, farmers, processors, wholesalers and other actors involved in organic markets. It has been formed by a network of researchers from universities, research institutes and market data collection agencies in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, Switzerland, who have been researching and publishing organic farming statistics for many years. The project is co-ordinated by the University of Wales in Aberystwyth and will run from 2003 to 2005. Further information on the partnership and objectives of the project can be found at www.eisfom.org.
The project is financially supported by the Commission of the European Communities’ Fifth Framework Research and Technological Development Programme The views expressed in this press release do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission, nor do they in any way anticipate the Commission’s future policy in this area.
European Project EISfOM
Organic Farming in Europe: Statistical data per 31.12.2002
Internet site of Eurostat
Organic Farming Information System (OFIS) Database
Database Organic Eprints for papers related to research in organic agriculture
Institute of Rural Sciences organic farming statistics
Dr. Toralf Richter and Dr. Helga Willer
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL
Tel. +41 (0)62 865-7272
Fax +41 (0)62 865-7273
Dr. Nic Lampkin
University of Wales Aberystwyth
Institute of Rural Sciences
UK - SY23 3AL Aberystwyth Ceredigion
Tel (temporary until 31/07/04): +41 62 865 7213