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Inventory of data collecting and publishing institutions(= Deliverable 2.1 of the OrganicDataNetwork project: Report on data collectors)

Gerrard, Catherine L; Vieweger, Anja and Padel, Susanne (2012) Inventory of data collecting and publishing institutions(= Deliverable 2.1 of the OrganicDataNetwork project: Report on data collectors). OrganicDataNetwork project, c/o University of Ancona .

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Despite the continuous growth of the organic market in Europe, in most countries only very basic statistics about this sector exist. Individual country governments collect data which are published nationally and by EUROSTAT (the statistical office of the European Union), on the number of certified organic holdings, organic and in-conversion land areas and livestock numbers. Important market statistics, however, such as the amount of production, consumption, retail sales, international trade and prices at the farm or consumer level are lacking in most European countries.
To understand the availability of data on the organic market and to assist in improving data quality and availability, it is first necessary to be aware of the organisations that currently collect, analyse and/or disseminate such data across Europe and the methods that they use.
To assess the current status of organic market data collection in the EU and its neighbours, an online survey was developed and nearly 600 organisations within the EU27, EFTA, the rest of Europe and the Mediterranean were invited to participate. The useable response rate was 28% once very incomplete responses had been removed from the sample. Based on this survey it is difficult to state definitively that no data collection/analysis/publication occur within certain countries or within certain areas of the market. The survey may not have detected any, but there may still be some carried out that have not been detected by the survey.
The survey has been used to produce an inventory table, summarising the data collection effort in each country to inform further work in the project.
The data were analysed for the entire sample and were split into responses from EU27+EFTA, other European and non-European countries to provide an overview of the data collection effort in each of these country groups. A comparison of EU15 and newer member states was also carried out and Mediterranean countries (MOAN) were considered separately. The relatively low response rate made comparisons difficult and means that only general observations can be made.
The data types that are most commonly collected are production data, especially land area, followed by production volume; whereas production value is much less commonly collected. However, production area data are not the main focus of the survey or of the OrganicDataNetwork project. Price data and retail sales data are the next most commonly collected market data. Export data are more commonly collected in non-European countries than in the EU, perhaps reflecting a higher importance to their economies. The product categories most often represented in EU27+EFTA market data collection are meat, milk and dairy products, fruit and vegetables. Across the other groups of countries (e.g. other European, non-European) the pattern of data collection of individual product categories varies with regards to the most popular products. Data on non-food products are rarely collected.
Data collection methods vary with the type of data collected, but surveys are a commonly used method across data types. Censuses are often used to collect production volume data and other types of data such as international trade data (they are not used to collect data in non-European countries). Expert estimates are occasionally used across most of the country categories. For retail data and consumer price data, consumer/household panels or retail panels (scanner data) are likely to be used, whereas catering sales data are collected by surveys. Import and export data are generally collected using surveys and sometimes censuses but some reliance is also placed on expert estimates. The data analysis carried out in the different countries (across all of the categories) tends to be compilation or basic analysis (such as averages, and ranges). Other methods mentioned include time-evolution, comparison to averages or totals, and sense-checking with other data (particularly for export data).
The responses to the question about data publication suggest generally low publication rates (especially for data other than production data); with less than 50% of the sample in each disaggregated group of countries giving a positive answer. Of all the data types that were asked about, production data are most likely to be freely available, but not all production data that are collected are also published. Data are usually published annually; price, retail or export data are occasionally published more frequently.
The purpose of this survey was to produce an inventory and an overview of collectors of organic market data in Europe and its neighbouring countries. The results have delivered a good picture of the situation in Europe and have shown that the recent claims, coming from various sources,regarding a lack of organic market data were definitely justified. Overall it can be concluded that the market data collection effort remains very varied across Europe and that not all data that are collected are also published. This is problematic, as without good quality, accurate and timely information it is difficult for stakeholders to make decisions about the risks and benefits of investment. There is also a need to understand the reasons why there is currently not more organic market data collection undertaken as well as to understand the barriers to good quality data collection and dissemination. This is the basis for further work on harmonisation of data collection approaches and for improvement in data quality, which is planned as part of the OrganicDataNetwork project.

EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:Survey, data collection, Europe
Agrovoc keywords:
statistical data
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Specific methods > Surveys and statistics
Research affiliation: European Union > OrganicDataNetwork
UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC)
Horizon Europe or H2020 Grant Agreement Number:289376
Deposited By: Willer, Dr. Helga
ID Code:23009
Deposited On:19 Jul 2013 14:16
Last Modified:19 Jul 2013 14:47
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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