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Focus groups of value concepts of producers: National Report Switzerland

Schmid, Otto; Kilchsperger, Rahel and Bodini, Antonella (2005) Focus groups of value concepts of producers: National Report Switzerland. EEC 2092/91 (Organic Revision Internal Project Report), no. Related to D 2.1. Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, CH-Frick.

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Summary

The Organic Revision project was funded by the EU with the aim of supporting the further development of the EU Regulation 2092/91 on organic production. As part of the project focus groups were run in five European countries on value concepts of organic producers and other stakeholders, during 2004-2005. The project aims to provide an overview of values held among organic stakeholders, and of similarities and differences among the various national and private organic standards.
In Switzerland, three group sessions were held with established organic farmers, two groups with newly converted organic farmers, one group involved experts from BIO SUISSE and one group was conducted with students from Agronomy, Environmental Sciences and Geography faculties of Zurich.
The following conclusions were reached: Almost all participants were engaged in organic agriculture based on a certain believe or because they just like organic farming. Not only farmers had strong concerns with regard to the current development. The discussion about the basic values and the over-arching principles of organic agriculture were seen as very positive and a move in the right direction.
The health of the ecosystem were in the discussions several times a fundamental value.
Fair trading conditions were seen for many participants as a core issue. The producers did see the maintenance of their family farm and the farm succession as major issue. Many farmers were against an industrialisation of agriculture and against a too strong commercialisation of their products. Several farmers and several groups mentioned the problem of the lack of solidarity between farmers. Solidarity should get more importance in the future. Several farmers wished that there will be better cooperation between farmers and market actors as well as a better common strategy with a clear concept.
Another issue was a truthful and careful processing, which is also for farmers very relevant. The farmers as well as the experts found that the added value of the production, the ideologic content of the products, and as well as the special intrinsic quality of the products are very important. Furthermore farmers and experts were in favour of “100 % entirely supply and market chains with only organic product, where not only the producers but also the trader and sales staff is convinced of organic agriculture. Many producers found that the communication with costumers, in particular public relation, will be important to survive on a competitive market and must be improved.
A secure livelihood, surviving on he market and the strong workload were for many producers a major issues. Another central discussion point was the overregulation and inspection. Not only the producers but all main actors wished that the standard/rules are more comprehensive and the inspection work less bureaucratic. This issue is highly relevant not only for organic farmers.
Experts saw a potential for an adaptation of the standards. In particular the health of the Ecosystem and the regionality are seen as key topics.


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:Switzerland; focus group; conversion; growth; motives; attitute; market; values; Organic Revision
Subjects: Values, standards and certification > Regulation
"Organics" in general > Country reports > Switzerland
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Systems research and participatory research
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics
European Union > Organic Revision
UK > Univ. Aberystwyth > Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)
Related Links:http://www.organic-revision.org
Deposited By: Padel, Dr Susanne
ID Code:10989
Deposited On:09 Jul 2007
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:35
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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