The work package LIVESTOCK from OrganicPlus European Project is in charge of searching alternatives for antibiotics, antiparisitics, synthetic vitamins and bedding materials for organic production. However, where are we now with this contentious inputs in Europe? What think the farmers about this issues? Are they interested in trying this alternatives?

Although there is a European regulation that stablishes the rules for all countries in the European Union, have the farmers in each country the same perception on the relevance of this topics? To answer all these questions, we are conducting a survey study across several countries with an on-line questionnaire.

Organic Livestock Production in Europe: some numbers to understand its importance

The organic livestock sector in the European Union has been experiencing a fast growth in recent years. The last report released from the European Commission (2016) based on Eurostat database showed that the most important species reared organically, with the exception of poultry which is by far the greatest one, are sheep (42%) and cattle (34%), followed by pigs (9%) and goats (7%). Pigs showed the lowest shares probably due to the difficulties to obtain organic feeds (i.e. internal supply and organically certified external supply), and the resulting high price for consumers. Between 2007 and 2015, the greatest increase was observed  in the  poultry sector (+108%), partly to the high demand for eggs, followed by beef and dairy cattle (+58%), pigs (+46%), sheep (+35%) and goats (+15%) (Lernoud and Willer, 2017). Moreover, organic milk production has almost doubled since 2007, from 2.7 to 4.7 million metric tons (Lernoud and Willer, 2017). The document elaborated by the European Commission (2016) reported that the largest producers of organic cattle are Germany, France, Austria, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Spain. Moreover, Austria (171 000 heads), Germany (150 000 heads), the United Kingdom (127 000 heads) and France (113 000 heads) are the ones with the greatest number of organic dairy cows. Organic pig production is mainly in Denmark (260 510 heads), France (219 812 heads) and Germany (190 471 heads). The organic pig sector still holds a very minor share in the European pig market. Ovine organic production is mainly in the United Kingdom (868 554 heads), Italy (785 170 heads), Greece (609 616 heads), Spain (600 000 heads) and France (450 000 heads). Greek and Italian ovine production is oriented towards cheese manufacturing, while the United Kingdom and Spain are focused on meat production. Goat organic production is concentrated in Greece (344 479 heads), Italy (100 852 heads), France (72 542 heads) and Spain (69 448 heads). The organic poultry sector has registered a 14% yearly increase between 2005 and 2015 and is currently led by France with >13 million animals, of which about 30% are laying hens.

European Regulation for Organic Production: what it says about Organic Livestock Production?
Organic production and labelling of organic products in the European Union are regulated by the Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of May 30, 2018, and although the principles for organic farming seem easy to follow, the regulation is comprised of several exceptions since sometimes a compromise has to be taken to ensure animal health and welfare.

Regarding feeding, even though minerals, trace elements, vitamins or provitamins have to be of natural origin, products of non-natural origin can be used if no alternatives are available. Moreover, non-organic spices, herbs and molasses can be used when they are produced or prepared without chemical solvents and limited to 1% of the feed ration (annual percentage in feed dry matter).

Regarding health care, chemically synthesised allopathic veterinary medicinal products are prohibited for preventive treatment, along with substances to promote growth or production and hormones or similar to control reproduction; however, immunological veterinary medicinal products may be used. The first option for the veterinary treatment should be phytotherapeutic and homeopathic products, as well as minerals and nutritional additives allowed for organic production. However, when chemically synthesised allopathic medical products (including antibiotics) are prescribed, the withdrawal period should be twice of the withdrawal period adopted in conventional farming and at least 48 hours. Moreover, if an animal receives more than 3 courses of treatment with those chemically synthesised allopathic meds within 12 months, or more than 1 course if the productive lifecycle is <1 year, the treated animal (and their products) should undergo a conversion period in order to be considered organic again.

To help in fully achieve the principles of organic livestock farming, effective alternatives for the use of synthetic vitamins, anti-infective and immune-stimulators, and bedding materials have to be examined and developed.

The lack of the availability of statistical information about the use of synthetic vitamins, antibiotics, antiparasitics and conventional bedding materials (straw) supports the need for conducting a survey among organic livestock farmers to get a more accurate picture of the use of these contentious inputs in the organic livestock sector.

A Multi-Country Survey to focus our Research: Understanding Organic Livestock Farmers’ Reality and Needs
Questionnaires are one of the most used tools to collect epidemiological data. Due to reasons such as shorter delivery time, lower delivery cost, additional design options, and shorter data entry time, web surveys have gained popularity in the last years (Fan and Yan, 2010). However, web surveys critical point usually is Internet access (Fan and Yan, 2010). Although rural areas usually lag behind in digital access (Basu and Chakraborty, 2011), nowadays farms are more connected than ever before. Moreover, demographic data suggest that organic livestock farms tend to be managed by younger people and better educated rather than conventional ones (Rigby et al., 2001; European Commission, 2016), which could suggest a better access to the Internet. 

Therefore, an online questionnaire has been developed to collect information about farmers’ perception of current contentious issues in organic livestock farming, and the use of alternative allopathic products (vitamins, antibiotics and antiparasitics) and bedding materials across the European Union and bordering countries.

The questionnaire has been developed in English and translated into several languages to reach the maximum number of participants. We are collecting answers since 1st of November, and we expect to arrive to a representative number by the end of the year. We offer to all participants a Certificate of Collaboration with the study and the possibility to include the link of the farms in the Organic Plus project website (www.organic-plus.net) because without their help this study could not be done.


So, if you are a farmer with livestock under organic, and you are reading this article, please complete our questionnaire at: https://goo.gl/forms/gqQvosdL0RAWj1Zd2

 

If you want to complete on a different language, please go https://organic-plus.net/2018/11/14/livestock-survey/ and select the available language that better fits your needs. We really appreciate your participation.


AUTHORS

Massimo De Marchi (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
and Carmen L. Manuelian (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padova,
Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy

https://www.dafnae.unipd.it/

Despite all odds, especially the late change of host country from Cameroun to Senegal, the 4th African Organic Conference was successfully hosted by Federation Nationale d’Agriculture Biologique (FENAB) from 5th - 8th November, 2018.

> Read more

6th International Conference on Organic Agriculture Sciences (ICOAS) in Austria, Eisenstadt, 7 – 9 November 2018. With the theme of “Dynamic Developments in Organic Research – strengthening Partnerships across Europe and beyond”.

> Read more

Despite all odds, especially the late change of host country from Cameroun to Senegal, the 4th African Organic Conference was successfully hosted by Federation Nationale d’Agriculture Biologique (FENAB) from 5th - 8th November, 2018.

The theme of the Conference was "Ecological and Organic Agriculture Strategies for Viable Continental and National Development in the Context of the African Union's Agenda 2063" and it was declared open by the representative (Mr. Arona Niang) of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Senegal.

pic 1

Mr. Arona Niang (representative of Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment) declaring open the Conference.

The Conference was attended by over 160 participants, including farmers, scientists, policy makers and organic business entrepreneurs from more than 30 countries. A cross section of some of the participants is shown in Pic. 2.

AOC 2

 

The International Society of Organic Agriculture Reserach (ISOFAR) jointly sponsored the Conference Proceedings of the Scientific Track with African Organic Network (AfrONet). At the plenary session, Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann (ISOFAR President) presented a paper tiled «Contribution of knowledge hub and Networks to EOA Development in Africa».

aoc 3 final 

Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann (ISOFAR President) presenting his lead paper on Knowledge hub in Africa

 

In his opening remarks, he introduced ISOFAR to the participants and encouraged African scientisits to join the Society. He informed that the idea of Organic Knowledge hub was conceived at the 3AOC held in Lagos, Nigeria in 2015 and through the German Ministry of International Cooperation (BMZ), Germany has pledged to support four (4) regional hubs (North, West, East and South) with the sum of 10 million Euro from 2019-2023. The goal is to strengthen African non-profit Organic NGOs. The three expected key outputs of this intervention are gathering and validation of knowledge on organic agriculture, dissemination of locally adapted farming practices and strengthening of markets and comsumption of organic products. Three ISOFAR World Board members attended the Conference.

 

pic 4

ISOFAR World Board members (Gerold, Khalid & Victor) at the 4AOC

 

Another high point of the Conference was the launching of the EOA Strategic Plan and Action Plan which was coordinated by Mr. Ernest Aubee, Principal Programme Officer Agriculture (PPO) Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Regional Steering Committee Chairman of EOA-I.

AOC 5

Mr. Ernest Aubee coordinating the launching of EOA-I documents

Thereafter, Mr. Ernest Aubee was honored by West African Organic Network (WafrONet) for his immense contributions towards the development of EOA-I in west African sub-region through ECOWAS.

AOC 6

Mr. Ernest Aubee of ECOWAS being honoured by WafrONet represented by Profs. Vodouhe Simplice (Benin) & Victor Olowe
(Nigeria)

The epoch event was also attended by representatives of international organisations such as SWISS AID, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Inter-continental Network of Organic Farmers Organization (INOFO), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), IFOAM Organics International, Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau / Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and Recherche agronomique pour le dévelopement (CIRAD).

While rounding up the Conference, the stakeholders resolved to meet in Morocco or alternatively Rwanda in 2021 for the 5th African Organic Conference.

  


AUTHORS

Prof. Dr. Victor I. Olowe

Agronomist

Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Abeokuta, Nigeria This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; www.funaab.edu.ng

and

Dr.Khalid AZIM
Researcher in Organic Agriculture and Organic Wastes Composting. INRA-CRRA Agadir
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.inra.org.ma

6th International Conference on Organic Agriculture Sciences (ICOAS) in Austria, Eisenstadt, 7 – 9 November 2018. With the theme of “Dynamic Developments in Organic Research – strengthening Partnerships across Europe and beyond”. The conference was organized as a joint project by FiBL, Esterhazy Betriebe GmbH, Austrian Rural network and Austrian Ministry BMNT.

 

Organizers of ICOAS

Organizer of ICOAS

 

ICOAS brought together scientists, advisors, entrepreneurs, policy makers, associations, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to meet and discuss latest research results and developments in organic agriculture in Central and Eastern European countries. The 200 participants from 30 countries actively discussed the latest developments in the organic sector, making Eisenstadt a hub of the organic world. On the first two days of the ICOAS, speakers from 26 countries presented a wide range of current research results on organic production, which were discussed intensively from the most diverse perspectives. Special attention were on the below topics:

  • Organic production
  • Socio-economic challenges
  • Consumers’ perspectives and expectations
  • Knowledge transfer and dissemination
  • Sustainability assessment
  • Innovations for the organic sector
  • Agricultural policy and law

Furthermore, the respective organic markets, regional marketing strategies and processes for increasing quality were examined. Innovative no-till methods were presented, as well as the latest studies on consumers’ behaviour and attitudes to organic products  throughout Europe.

 

Following the two-day scientific conference on November 9, Federal Minister for Sustainability and Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger invited to the Organic Policy Summit. “Austria is the number one organic country – we are a model for many member states in the European Union. High-level political representatives from Austria, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic highlighted the role of organic agriculture and applied research in this area for a sustainable and sustainable agricultural system at the Organic Policy Summit.

 

Lunch

Lunch in Esterhazy Palace

 


AUTHOR

Participant of ICOAS conference: prof. Ewa Rembiałkowska,
Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland,

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.sggw.pl

Since 2010, France knows an increase of organic agriculture, which has continued till 2018. Several organizations and stakeholders are involved in organic farming: producers, researchers, teachers, advisors, processors...

 

> Read more