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Survey: Improving crop protection in organic fruit production

(Photo: FiBL, Thomas Alföldi)

(Photo: FiBL)

In the framework of the BIOFRUITNET project, an online questionnaire was created in order to find out about current needs and gaps in knowledge from advisory services and fruit farmers regarding stone, pome and citrus fruits. FiBL is one of the 15 project partners.

Plant protection against pests and diseases is a big issue for organic fruit growers, as fruit is a very sensitive produce. Many organic farmers in Europe have locally adapted their own practices and techniques to successfully deal with the challenge of organic crop protection. However, this valuable practical knowledge often remains at the local level, instead of being shared with fruit growers in other regions facing the same problems. The BIOFRUITNET project aims at connecting practitioners in the organic fruit sector throughout Europe and making these successful methods of crop protection available to all.

The first step of the project is to get an up-to-date picture of what challenges organic fruit growers in Europe are actually facing as well as the strategies they are using to face these challenges. Therefore, BIOFRUITNET partners have launched an online questionnaire addressed to technical advisors and fruit growers. The intention is to find out about current needs and knowledge gaps regarding stone, pome and citrus fruit as well as best-practices and also to inquire in which way farmers would prefer to access technical information about such issues.

The results of the questionnaire will allow us to identify, what kind of knowledge and information is needed where. They will provide the basis for the production of various communication formats such as videos, podcasts and e-learning courses, which shall be both informative and easy to understand. These formats shall be disseminated via networks, advisory services and academic schools throughout Europe.

We encourage fruit farming advisors, practitioners as well as selected researchers in 20 European target countries to fill in this questionnaire and to suggest combinations of practices in their local contexts until 30 September 2020.

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About BIOFRUITNET

The project aims to strengthen the competitiveness of European organic fruit production by collecting and synthesizing existing practical and scientific knowledge on organic fruit-growing to distribute it widely among the EU countries through easy formats like e-learning, podcasts, videos and short articles. Another focus is on strengthening established networks in organic fruit growing and establish links between them to create strong networks of organic fruit producers and stakeholders with a good flow of information. The project is coordinated by the international farmers association Naturland and carried out in collaboration with 15 partner organisations representing 12 countries in total.