Billmann, B.; Schaser, J.; Schlüter, D. and Schorn, W. (2005) Ökologischer Anbau von Zierpflanzen und Baumschulerzeugnissen - Struktur, Entwicklung, Probleme, politischer Handlungsbedarf. [Production of Organic Ornamentals in Germany – a Status Quo Analysis of the Industry.] In: Heß, J and Rahmann, G (Eds.) Ende der Nische, Beiträge zur 8. Wissenschaftstagung Ökologischer Landbau, kassel university press GmbH, Kassel.
In the Federal Organic Farming Scheme Project "Organic production of ornamental plants and nursery trees - structure of the industry, development, problems and required policy initiatives“a quantitative and qualitative survey of certified organic and conventional / integrated nurseries was carried out. The aim was to assess the current status of production and marketing of organic ornamentals in Germany and to provide an overview of the general framework of this industry.
• Currently approximately 1 % of the nurseries producing ornamentals in Germany are organic. Considering the small scale of many of the organic units, the share of total sales (2.4 billion Euro or 7.6 % of agricultural production in 2001) is likely to be lower.
• Field and greenhouse production of organic annuals and perennials constitutes an estimated 56 ha and 12 ha, respectively. Organic field and container production of trees and shrubs constitutes an estimated 370 ha and 7 ha, respectively.
• 90% of the organic nurseries surveyed would choose organic production again, if faced with the question of conversion a second time.
• Fewer problems than anticipated were encountered in production - even in pest and disease management. However, problems persist in weed control and continuity of nutrient supply from the growing media. Other challenges were the sourcing of organically acceptable inputs (such as seedlings or growing media) in the production of annuals and perennials. In tree nurseries especially the decline in plant vigour caused by the common practice of successive planting of rosaceae raised difficulties.
• Marketing was quoted to be the biggest problem for nurseries which engage in direct marketing. Wholesalers anticipated the biggest problems with the continuity and consistency of the supply of quality product.
• The majority of organic operations surveyed encountered financial difficulties during the conversion period and afterwards.
• 32 % of growers from integrated operations have already considered organic production, but have - for economic reasons - not pursued this idea further.
• The operations surveyed noted that organic standards need expansion and revisions to cover their industry; and that organic inspectors were lacking sufficient technical knowledge. State subsidies for organic ornamental nurseries were found to be inconsistent between the member states of the Federal Republic of Germany.
• A high need for an organic advisory service for these types of operations was indicated, but has not been sufficiently met to date. Further, there was almost no research about the organic production of ornamentals.
Organic production of ornamentals, trees and shrubs is technically feasible - but for further development this sector requires improvement of the basic conditions such as market structure, advisory services, subsidies and research activities.
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