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Strengthening research on organic food and farming: a strategic advantage for the EU and European countries

Niggli, Urs (2006) Strengthening research on organic food and farming: a strategic advantage for the EU and European countries. Paper at: VII CONGRESO ESTATAL SEAE SOBRE AGRICULTURA Y ALIMENTACIÓN ECOLÓGICA, Zaragoza, 18-23 de septiembre 2006. [Unpublished]

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Summary

There has been a constantly increasing consumer demand for organic foods over the last 20 years, which has accelerated again over the last 2 years in many European countries, including the new member states (Willer and Yussefi, 2006; Richter et al., 2006). But organic farming does not only offer a unique possibility for economic growth, it is also a highly relevant tool in order to solve simultaneously a range of problems relating to food production, environment, animal welfare, and rural development, as the Copenhagen Declaration stated in May 2001, a declaration signed by Ministers from governments all around Europe. The Copenhagen Declaration has been taken up by the EU Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming.
The societal benefits of organic farming were widely published by several meta-studies (Stolze et al, 2000; El-Hage and Hattam, 2002; Mäder et al., 2002; Hole et al., 2005). The major conclusion of these studies is that organic faming is an integrative and well defined pathway to a sustainable use of land and natural resources.
On the other hand, the problematic impact of conventional farming practice on the environment and the costs of these negative side effects for the society are also scientifically qualified and quantified by different authors (e.g. Pimentel et al., 1995 and Pretty et al., 2000).
Organic agriculture is a highly knowledge-based food and farming technique. It exploits interactions in natural and semi-natural habitats and biological and ecological self-regulation. As many of these mechanisms are intuitively used by skilled organic farmers and are not yet widely explored by science, research activities in this field of agriculture and food production have a fast and high impact on technology progress and economic performance.
On the background of these reflections, it is obvious how important both basic and applied research work on organic food and farming are. Innovation and optimization triggered by science will be crucial in order to make organic food and farming economically, ecologically and socially more efficient.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:organic food, organic farming, economie, ecology, research, Europe
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Research Communication
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org
Deposited By: Niggli, Prof. Dr. Urs
ID Code:11451
Deposited On:10 Oct 2007
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:35
Document Language:English
Status:Unpublished
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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