The Organic Innovation Days have become a tradition in late November, being arranged by TP Organics in Brussel to inform and grow networks between stakeholders linked to the organic sector. The 4th event was one day arranged by TP Organics alone (Nov 27), followed by two days integrated in the larger event G-STIC, which was arranged for the 3rd time in Brussel. The Organic PLUS and Relacs projects were mentioned as important efforts to reduce the consumption of copper in organic growing. E.g. the scientific director of INRA (France), Christian Huyghe, gave an enthusiastic lecture about post-pesticide agriculture, where pesticides used in organic growing also need to be phased out.

In the afternoon, participants discussed in parallel sessions inputs to the revised strategic research and innovation agenda which TP Organic will present during 2019 to influence the upcoming frame program Horizon Europe, which will release the first calls in 2021. The first SRIA presented by TP Organics in 2008 was successful to prepare the ground for several large projects supporting the growth of the organic sector, but there is still a long way to go before organic farming is generally recognized as an important driver of change for increased sustainability. Th next chance for interaction in the SRIA will be the Science Day at Biofach 2019.

The Spanish company Polyfly, producing hoverflies for glasshouses and field conditions to increase pollinations, were the happy winners of the Organic Innovation prize in 2108.

For the two days linked to the G-STIC event, agroecology as a driver for increased sustainability was the headline. A range of success stories from around the world were presented, but no one mentioned organic efforts, standards, certification, labelling and marketing as a corridor for realising agroecology in practice, not least to ensure some fair premium prices for involved farmers. Agroecology is a reminder for organic farming that we should work a lot harder to realize biodiversity, e.g. by new approaches to crop rotation. Strip cropping is tested with success in the Netherlands. Whereas scientists involved in agroecology seem to appreciate the practical efforts from the organic sector, significant resistance towards certified organic farming still seems to be present on the political side. 

Funded by other projects, Alev Kir (Turkey) and Anne-Kristin Løes (Norway) were present in Brussel from the Organic PLUS team.

alev kir nu

During the G-STIC conference, Eldert van Helten and Rogier Schulte,
Wageningen University (Netherlands) presented research to develop
agroecology approaches, e.g. strips to replace traditional crop rotations.

ak nørsøk

Anne-Kristin Løes (NORSØK) participated in the G-STICK 2018
conference in Brussel, as a part of activities in Organic Innovation Days 2018,
arranged by TP Organics. Agroecology was presented in several sessions.


 

AUTHOR

Dr.Anne-Kristin Løes
Senior researcher, Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture
ISOFAR Board Member