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Research in organic agriculture - Assessment and future directions

Wynen, Els and Vanzetti, David (2000) Research in organic agriculture - Assessment and future directions. In: David, C.; Allard, G. and Henning, J. (Eds.) Organic Agriculture Faces its Development: The Future Issues, ISARA - Universite LAVAL - INRA, no. 12 emes Entretiens Jacques Cartier.

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Online at: http://www.elspl.com.au/abstracts/abstract-g4.HTM

Summary

Organic agriculture has only recently come out of its marginal status in many countries. Consequently, funding for research is starting to pick up, and policies on research needs have been the focus of attention more in the last few years than ever before. Since Niggli and Lockeretz (1996) mapped past research in organic agriculture, several reports have been written on what is happening at present, or what should happen in the future. For example, Lindenthal, Vogl and Hess (1996) described research requirements in Austria, Höök (1997) detailed research in seven European countries, and Wynen (1997) analysed present and future research needs in organic agriculture in Europe.
More recently, a number of studies have appeared which discuss research topics and funding. In 1998 FAO facilitated a workshop on research methodologies, and in early 1999 the European International Federation for Organic Agricultural Movements Conference held a session on research needs in organic agriculture. Lampkin et al. (1998) detailed funding for organic agriculture in 18 European countries, and summarised and analysed research needs expressed in other publications. In Scandinavia, lists of projects in organic agriculture are available for different years in individual countries, and an analysis of present projects and future needs has just been completed (Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural Research (NJC) 1999). In the UK, the Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries has commissioned a study for which information is being gathered about research projects in other European countries.
The purpose of this paper is to selectively review some of the current research agendas and suggest future directions. While our assessment may be somewhat subjective, we have attempted to base it on sound principles - to allocate limited research funds as efficiently as possible to achieve maximum benefits. This, of course, will depend on the objectives espoused. We look first at the different objectives held by the various stakeholders, keeping in mind that the overall target is the adoption of organic agricultural practices by all farmers. Then we examine some of the factors that determine the benefits likely to result from research expenditure. Next we summarise the main areas of research in organic agriculture in Europe, Australia and the USA. The research needs as recorded in different studies are then compared with the theory, and a refocusing of the organic research agenda is suggested.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:research needs, priorities, funding, conceptual framework, EU, Australia, USA
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy
Research affiliation: Australia > Eco Landuse Systems
Related Links:http://www.elspl.com.au/pubs/ResearchPol.HTM
Deposited By: Wynen, Dr Els
ID Code:3054
Deposited On:23 Jul 2004
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:29
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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