Author: Dr Jaakko Nuutila, Natural Resources Institute Finland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,www.luke.fi">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.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

finnishThe Finnish organic food system has had the same development phases as many other countries producing or consuming organic food, but the current volume of production and the market share is lagging severely behind the best-performing European Union countries. Finnish authorities set several development programmes with quantitative goals for the growth of the organic sector, the latest for 2020.

 

The consumers’ growing interest toward organically produced food enabled the mainstream retailers to increase their assortment of organic products, providing consumers better access to organic products.

 

Until 2010 the organic products were mainly considered as “service products” for demanding consumers. Positive market development in Nordic countries and consumers increased interest in Finland as well. The consumers, who buy the most organic products, also buy them more often from specialty shops and directly from the farms.

 

Organic farms and production

In 2017 the share of organic from total agricultural area was 11.7 % with an increase of 10 % from 2016 and the largest shares were in North Karelia, Kainuu, South Savonia and North Ostrobothnia (27.1%, 24.1%, 15.8% and 14.9%, respectively). The average farm size was 56.8 ha and the number of organic farms was 4,641. There were 83 other companies in primary production, such as greenhouses, beehives and mushroom cultivation. The largest share of farmland was for grass and for oats (65% and 15%, respectively). Other plants were rye, wheat, barley, peas, fava beans and turnip rape. Animal production was concentrated in 2016 on bovines: under 8 months old (561 farms), heifers (538 farms), calvers (504 farms), bovines (538 farms), sheep (344 farms), hens (48 farms) and beehives (63 farms). There were minor amounts of farms with pigs, poultry and broiler chickens. Finland has the largest organic certified wild collection area in the world. Where forests cover 86% of the land area in Finland, approximately half of that (13 M ha) is certified organic area. There are 37 edible berries and lingonberry, bilberry and cloudberry have the highest commercial value. Only a small share of wild mushrooms is utilized commercially.

 

Organic consumer markets

The development of the organic market has been rapid during the last years, The organic market in Finland was worth 273 million euros in 2016 and trade specialists evaluate that organic food sales will have increased to 410 million euros by 2020. The market share of organic products is 2%, but varies greatly between product categories. When the retail companies dominate

the markets and widen the food margin they, on the other hand, enable an efficient distribution of organic products around the country

 

 

Governmental goal for year 2020

 

The current government programme aims at a 20% organic share of agricultural land, sufficient production for domestic markets, tripled organic markets in comparison to 2013 and 10% organic share in 2015 and 20% organic share in governmental catering by 2020 (MMM 2014). The aim of the current programme is to produce products that are not harmful to the environment or to the welfare and health of humans, plants and animals (MMM 2014). The same arguments have been presented in other programmes also.

 

The earlier goals have not been reached and following the current development trend, it is highly unlike that the current goals could be reached either. In the current government goal for the year 2020, the share of organic agriculture area is set to 20%. The increase from 2016 to 2017 was 10 %, but to reach the goal, a 19.6 % annual increase is still needed for the remaining years. The market development shows as well the increasing trend, although it has been slower than expected. The goal set for the organic markets from year 2014 to 2020, with the current development trend, requires an annual increase of 25.5 % for the remaining years.

 

The future growth of organics in Finland

 

With its Nordic location and pure nature, Finland offers exeptional facilities for superior organic production leading to excellent organic export opportunities. To meet the current official and future organic development goals the several obstacles and challenges found in various areas of the Finnish food system have to be discussed openly and addressed. Multi-disciplinary research is needed to recognize the phenomena behind various reasons for slow development of the organic in the whole value chain. It is crucial to have the courage to change the model for providing information about externalities of food systems from subjective to science-based. Food chain-level collaboration is needed to enhance agreement to mutual rules and fairness of the activity of the food system. During 2018 the Finnish organic action plan will be updated. This will provides a good opportunity for multi-stakeholder discussions about the vision and measures for Finland to reach Organic 3.0.

 

The goal of OFSP is to learn from the organic food system as a living laboratory for sustainable food systems. The Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) Programme of the United Nations’ 10-Year Framework on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) has endorsed the Organic Food System Programme (OFSP) as one of its eight  Core Initiatives. Organic food systems are posed as a model for sustainability and can serve as living laboratories for continued learning and improvement, integrating science and research with real-world examples.

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Argentina is one of the leading countries in certified organic production and have strict official regulations for organic production. Consumers worldwide demand more healthy products for the population and the environment well-being. This offers the possibility of a great future for organic agriculture that must be accompanied by research and extension in the field.

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Author: OFSP member of the steering committee: 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

ofsp ofsp logo

OFSP is an international program that combines theory and practical implementation. Ongoing activities include networking, research, training and capacity building, and practical implementation projects. Special events such as workshops, conferences, and round tables happen across the calendar. Outputs include publications, information brochures, websites, scientific papers, recommendations, and audio/visual media.

The OFSP is a programme on taking and further developing the organic food system as a pilot model and living laboratory for sustainable food systems. We use the organic food system as a model to understand drivers of sustainable food consumption and to link this to real-world examples of sustainable production and consumption. It is important to understand that the OFSP will use the organic food system as a kind of window for exploration but not as the exclusive solution. There are many commonalities between healthy (e.g. WHO 2014) and sustainable diets (e.g. FAO 2012); organic agriculture is not necessarily a component of achieving either of these goals, but can contribute to enhancing both and may act as a model to bridge health and sustainability.The OFSP works with proven and innovative diet models and works on food production based on latest knowledge of best practices for regenerative agriculture and nutritional quality. Partners of the OFSP have detailed knowledge of various regional diets such as Mediterranean Diet and New Nordic Diet and are connected to a vast network of organic farming practitioners and research.

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"Organic", "ecological" or "biological" products are obtained from an agricultural system whose objective is to produce healthy and abundant supply of food, taking care of the environment and preserving natural resources.

The demand of consumers for organic products is increasing in the world, more farmers grow organically, more land is certified organic, and 178 countries report organic farming activities. The world organic food market reached more than 72 billion euros in 2016. The United States is the leading market with 38,900 million euros, followed by Germany (9,500 million euros), France (6,700 million euros) and China (5.9 billion euros).

Argentina has 3.1 million hectares of certified organic production and ranks 2nd in the world ranking behind Australia (Figure 1). The ten countries with the largest organic agricultural areas represent 74% of the world's organic agricultural land.

ten countries with lagest areas of OAF

Figure 1. Ten countries with the largest areas of organic agricultural land.

In Argentina there are official regulations for organic products: Law 25.127, with different decrees and resolutions that regulates organic production and its control system.

SENASA (National Health Service and Food Quality) is the competent authority in the control of compliance with official regulations on the entire production-commercial process. In addition, it enables certifying entities to control operators (producers, processors and marketers). SENASA controls the certifying entities through audits and inspections to the operators. This provides transparency, ensures quality and complies with the international requirements. There are 4 certifying bodies authorized by 2017.

Since 1996 in Argentina the area under organic production has been increasing with certain fluctuations according to the years. Animal production occupies 2,814,069 ha and of these 95% are in Patagonia (Figure 2). The largest volume of organic production, according to official statistics, is exported (99%), but 1% goes to the domestic market, which is continuously increasing.

South america argentina 2

Figure 2. Argentina. Location.

The most important destination of the production is United States, surpassing 50% of the total exported. Then, the main destination is the European Union, of which Switzerland stands out as the most important buyer, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Poland and Sweden. There are other destinations to be highlighted, such as Japan, Canada, Ecuador, Russia, Brazil, Angola, Algeria, Costa Rica, Colombia, Bolivia, Australia, Chile, China and Korea.

Among the most important productions, it can be mentioned cereals and oilseeds, such as wheat, soybeans (very required in organic form because they are not transgenic or have been cultivated without synthetic products), rice, sorghum, corn, chia, flax, barley, sunflower, peanut, oats and rapeseed.

Fruits include apples and pears as the most important horticultural crop export, citrus fruits are destined for the domestic market.

As for vegetables, the occupied hectares are scarce and the export products are mainly garlic and squash. This activity is mainly intended for sale in the domestic market, where more than 50 varieties of vegetables are distributed throughout the year in various types of commercial channels.

Animal production has not evolved in last years. Sheep production takes place in Patagonia with “dirty wool” and “top wool” products, as well as meat. There are other productions of organic animals, which are llamas, goats, guanacos and bees for honey production.

Among the industrialized products, it can be mentioned wines, soybean and wheat flours, olive oils, sunflower, and rapeseed, applesauce and pulp, dried apple, frozen strawberries, fruit juices, tea, yerba mate, among others (Figure 3).

argentina fig 3

Figure 3. Organic labeled exported products: Wine, yerba mate and apples

Domestic market grows permanently in vegetables, fruits, cereals and oilseeds and flours of various types, jams, tea, yerba mate, wines, mushrooms, aromatic herbs, sugar cane, olives, oils, juices, dry fruit, baked goods made with organic flours, cheeses, honey, etc.

Requirements for the certification of organic production are high, and for small producers are not easy to meet, that is why small groups of farmers are promoting other forms of "participatory" type certification where the control system is facilitated and cheaper and they can access this quality guarantee with a lower cost and ease.

Among the existing organizations in Argentina linked to organic production it can be mentioned the Argentine Movement for Organic Production "MAPO", created in 1995 is the most important organic Non-Governmental Organization of the country registered as a civil society without profit. It brings together all entities, people, companies or NGOs, which are related in some way to organic production, or establish contacts and agreements with small related organizations. Its associated are producers, certifiers, researchers, scientists, technicians, educators, entrepreneurs and organic marketers. This organization aims to promote organic production, disseminate and demonstrate to the community the benefits of the production system and organic food, ensuring the quality and transparency of organic markets and express themselves in defense of the organic movement and its members.

Universities do research in different topics related to organic production and also there are extension programs that give advice and trainings to farmers, families and people in general. In this regard, greater financing will be needed in the future to strengthen the sector.


Sources: 

SENASA. National Service of agrifood health and quality. 2016. Situation of organic production in Argentina during 2016. 43 p.

Willer, H. and J. Lernoud. 2017. Organic Agriculture worldwide 2017: current statistics. Research Institute of organic agriculture (FiBL). 38p.


Author:

Prof. Maria Claudia Dussi
Agroecology
Director of the Study group in Sustainable Agroecosystems, Department of Agricultural Sciences, Comahue National University, Cinco Saltos, Argentina.
Board of the LatinAmerican Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA).
Orcid number: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5673-4316
Scopus Author ID: 6507881395
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Istanbul, in Turkey hosted the 30th International Horticulture Congress (12-16 August 2018) under the auspices of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) which provided an excellent platform for scientists, students, consultants, engineers, extension agents, growers, industry, trade and consumer organizations, policymakers and other professionals having an interest in horticulture.

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