Introducing the QLIF research project
The integrated research project on "Improving quality, safety and reduction of costs in the European organic and "low input" food supply chains" was initiated 1 March, 2004. The project is funded by the European Union with a total budget of 18 million Euros. This article gives a short introduction to the project.
Organic and other "low input" farming systems provide a way for the society to respond on consumer pressure to omit or reduce agricultural inputs, like pesticides, mineral fertilisers, veterinary medicines and growth promoters. However, in order to ensure that the European societies benefit optimally from this mechanism, it is necessary to address actual and perceived problems or benefits related to such farming systems.
For low-input farmers and food producers, lower production costs and coupling of lower production costs with improved quality, safety and consumer perceptions of higher quality and safety will enable production of higher value-added food that maximises benefits to consumers and producers alike.
Objectives of QualityLowInputFood
The QualityLowInputFood research project aims to improve quality, ensure safety and reduce costs in organic and “low input” food production systems through research, dissemination and training activities. The project focuses on increasing value to both the consumers and producers and on supporting all components of the food chain, using a fork to farm approach.
It is particular important to ensure that consumers will be able to make their choices based on defined knowledge of the value provided by different types of products, and that these values may be reflected in more accurate and realistic business planning all along the production supply chain.
To achieve the overall aim, the project has four specific objectives:
Producer’s aims and consumer's expectations
The project will seek to improve the match between producer’s aims and consumer expectations regarding quality and nutritional value of organic and other ”low input” food.
Cost-efficiency in the organic food chain
The project will seek to increase the cost-efficiency all along the organic and other ”low input” food chains, while improving or maintaining its quality.
Minimising food safety risk
The project will contribute to minimising food safety risks all along the food chain (including the stages of production, processing, distribution and consumer food handling).
Environmental impact and fossil energy
The project will contribute to reducing environmental impact and fossil energy use in organic and ”low input” farming.
The objectives are thoroughly described at the QLIF homepage on Objectives.
Research activities at QualityLowInputFood
The work programme focuses on the development of technologies addressing important “bottle necks” in organic and low input food supply chains. One of its strengths is a matrix structure that encompasses the whole food chain from fork to farm for a wide range of sectors.
The project also has the scientific rigour to provide the meaningful information that is lacking on the extent to which differences in production systems affect nutritional value, taste/sensory quality and safety of food. It is expected to make a significant impact on increasing the competitiveness throughout the organic and “low input” food supply chains in a number of sectors to benefit from the European consumers.
The research activities are thoroughly described at the QLIF homepage on Research.
The consortium consists of 31 partners from 15 European countries.
An overwiev is given at the QLIF homepage on Contact.