FiBL presents Organic farming. Basic principles and Good practices, a new dossier that explains the basics of organic farming and shows how they are applied in practice. The publication is a valuable source of information for farmers interested in conversion to organic farming. It also serves as a guide for the private sector, government representatives, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties in their efforts to make food production in Europe more sustainable.

organic farming

Basic principles of organic farming

Organic farming strives for a resource-saving, environtment-and animal-friendly and social production of healthy food.

Therefore, the organic farmer seeks to use natural principles and processes to achieve optimal yields while protecting the environment. In this sense, organic farming is a holistic form of agriculture: in addition to the production of high-quality food, the preservation of natural resources such as fertile soils, clean water, and rich biodiversity are important goals.

Source: FiBL

Soil care, fundamental

Organic farming is presented as a solution for many European countries to revitalize agricultural lands with sustainable practices and achieve better yields and prices. What cannot be conceived without a fertile and well-nourished soil. This is achieved through biological processes, free of chemical or synthesized fertilizers, which result in balanced, quality fields with minimal impacts on flora, fauna and the atmosphere.

Crop rotation also pursues short-term objectives to maintain productivity and soil health. For example, pure legume seeds or mixtures in main or seed crops can provide large amounts of nitrogen for subsequent crops. This is essential not only for plant growth, but also for soil organisms and therefore for the biological activity of the soil in general.

soil nutrition
Fuente: FiBL

Animal husbandry plays an important role in the agricultural cycle. Well, their excrements are great natural fertilizers to revitalize and nourish crops. In this sense, keeping the animals in appropriate conditions, according to their specific needs and well fed is essential for the regeneration of the fields.

Certifications and regulations

La producción ecológica está regulada legalmente con certificados de garantía que definen los requisitos mínimos legales para la calificación de alimentos ecológicos. Todas estas regulaciones (estatales o privadas) protegen los conceptos ‘Bio’ y ‘Eco’ en todos los lenguajes posibles. No obstante, los distintivos privados se distinguen por requisitos más altos. Sin embargo, algunas etiquetas han acordado que sus productos se consideran equivalentes.

Organic production is legally regulated with guarantee certificates that define the minimum legal requirements for the qualification of organic food. All these regulations (state or private) protect the concepts ‘Bio’ and ‘Eco’ in all possible languages. However, private badges are distinguished by higher requirements. However, some labels have agreed that their products are considered equivalent.

Source: FiBL

Conversion to organic production

The demand for organic products continues to grow, and it’s accompanied by technical developments and political regulations that allow their stabilization. According to the FiBL report, these are optimal conditions for a successful transition to organic production if there is good planning.

Organic production: expanding

In the last 20 years, the organic market has grown globally with annual rates of one to two digits. Proof of this is that the European market grew by almost 8 percent in 2018, and retail sales rose to over 40 million euros. In fact, according to the FiBL report, the European organic sector has great potential to continue growing.

Source: FiBL

In turn, the growing demand for organic products has been accompanied by a stable growth in production area. The increase in Europe was more than 1 million hectares in 2018, which represents an increase of 11% in comparision with the previous year. Globally, organic farmland reached an all-time high of 72.3 million hectares in 2019.

Sources:

  • “Organic farming. Basic principles and good practices” – you can purchase or reserve the dossier at shop.fibl.org.

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