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The effect on basic staple food prices is therefore low. Furthermore, it would result in lower greenhouse gas emissions, a less unequal per capita use of global resources, and ease the introduction of higher animal welfare standards.
Number of undernourished World Food Summit Reduction target Number of und Reduction targe 0 In addition to the high prevalence of hunger that has persisted for decades, the world experienced a situation of high peaks in agricultural world market prices in and and again in and These have translated into an increasing number of undernourished, and many believe that they mark a change in the historical trend of declining real agricultural prices, which has been in evidence since early industrialization.
Reasons behind this trend change include increasingly scarce natural resources such as land and water, strongly evolving non-food demand for biomass, mainly for the production of bioenergy, a continued high population growth, a shift in consumption patterns towards higher value foods and increasing energy prices.
Against this backdrop, projections regarding the world food balance are an important input for the political discussion on fighting undernourishment.
This figure was widely cited by the international press. Brabeck-Letmathe, ; Bridges, In particular, this figure does not justify the claim that global agriculture in general should be intensified.
Furthermore, the excessively strong focus on the relevance of global agricultural production for fighting malnutrition and hunger is misleading. The study is organized as follows: Chapter 2 gives an overview of the background, methods used and assumptions made as well as the core results of the FAO projections.
Chapter 3 discusses the interdependencies between agricultural production and undernourishment. Chapter 4 discusses and analyzes alternative options for improving the world food balance, in contrast to an isolated focus on increasing agricultural production.
Two factors are especially highlighted in Chapter 4: the potential to decrease postharvest losses and the impact of lower meat consumption in developed countries.
Finally, Chapter 5 draws some conclusions. Agrochemicals, if not adequately used, have severe effects on natural resources like biodiversity and water.
In addition, the assumptions and methodologies are often drawn from papers which are not of direct relevance for the projections.
World in , 9. Bruinsma The FAO has been engaged in generating projections of the world food situation since its foundation and has regularly published reports in this regard.
It also addresses several topics related loosely or not at all to the projections such as world forestry, globalization, agricultural trade liberalization, climate change and others.
The methodology of the projections is described only rudimentarily in a short annex and reference is made to a publication by Alexandratos , which adds little to providing a comprehensive documentation of the methodology used.
The so-called Interim Report FAO, updates the projections from Bruinsma and extends the projection horizon to Reasons given for this update include: 1 the corrections of the UN population projections from 9.
In the remainder of this chapter, Sections 2. In order to ease the verification of FAO projections and underlying assumptions, Section 2.
Section 2. Finally, Section 2. FAO world food projections do not reflect what the FAO considers desirable to happen, but most likely to happen 2.
These projections thus do not imply a normative assessment of what should happen. The projection of the world food balance is not based on the use of one quantitative economic simulation model, but rather consists of three subsequent steps, using an accounting framework and relying heavily on expert assessments.
This process is not price driven: real prices are assumed to remain constant. Most important determinants include population growth, income growth, changes in income distribution, and autonomous trends in consumption patterns.
As a result, the increase in effective demand for food products between the base period and the year is estimated based on calculations, and implies certain production increases.
This increase in effective demand is not what the FAO considers as desirable, but what the FAO considers to be most likely to happen in the future based on currently available information.
Especially important in this context is that this increase does not reflect the abolishment of hunger, but rather reflects the decline in hunger which the FAO considers likely to happen see below.
National increases in supply would not necessarily match national increases in demand, and even if one allows for changes in the net trade balances for the individual countries, the aggregated increase in global supply would not necessarily match the aggregated increase in global demand.
Therefore, as a next step in the projection process the global increase in supply is reconciled with the global increase in demand in an accountancy framework.
This process of reconciliation is a rather resource intensive, technical and handmade procedure, involving per country modifications of supply and trade which is often based on the judgement of country and market experts.
Important to mention is that this process does not involve the use of equilibrium models, which would allow for changes in relative prices in order to reconcile supply and demand changes, but rather assumes constant prices.
This means that the results are validated against their physical feasibility and plausibility. A disadvantage, however, is that this approach does not allow for the simulation of changes in relative prices and the resulting feedback mechanisms.
Furthermore, due to the missing market clearing price mechanism, the development of a scenario with supply and demand being balanced is enormously time consuming.
Compared to projections based on a quantitative equilibrium model which equates demand and supply using the price mechanism, and typically finds changes in relative prices, the approach pursued by FAO does not necessarily result in less valid results.
Thus, while the inclusion of an enormous amount of knowledge on biophysical restrictions and expert knowledge is an asset, the inflexibility in running alternative scenarios with different assumptions and sensitivity analyses represents a key weakness in the approach.
In the following section, we provide a description of the specific assumptions made in the projections to the extent that it is possible to extract this information from the respective publications.
Table 2. Demand Factors Factors included in FAO projections Factors not included in FAO projections Population growth Price changes Income growth Changes in food distribution resulting from changes in income distribution Socio-cultural factors Postharvest losses Improvement in feed conversion Changes in seed use and in industrial use Bioenergy demand Demand for fishery products Supply Factors Factors included in FAO projections Factors not included in FAO projections Change in agricultural area Climate change Increase in irrigated area Increase in cropping intensity Crop yield growth Production constraints resulting from resource availability Changes in animal numbers Increase in animal productivity and intensification feed conversion, off-take rates, carcass weights, etc.
Price changes and climate change are not included in the projections Price changes and climate change are not covered by the projections. Taking climate change into account would put even more pressure on the world food balance.
It is very likely that climate change will negatively affect average global agricultural production in the future, and will likely lead to lower land productivity in tropical and subtropical climate zones and increased land productivity in temperate climate zones Parry et al.
Increases in income used in the FAO projections are country specific and the reaction of food demand to increases in income are also considered countryby-country.
For example, FAO assumes the response in demand for meat products in India to income growth to be substantially lower than in many other countries with comparable income levels due to dietary preferences resulting from cultural and religious practices FAO, In the published FAO papers, projected income growth is reported by country group e.
The evidence on individual countries such as India is often anecdotal. Moreover, the income elasticity used in the projections are not documented.
The FAO projections do not explicitly take into account changes in income distribution. Based on World Bank projections of declining poverty, however, FAO projections are based on the assumption that coefficients of variation in food demand within developing countries will decline from a level in the range of 0.
Such autonomous trends are sometimes taken into account in the FAO projections, but are not systematically documented in the reports.
But obviously this refers to any additional demand for biofuels, which would add to that already considered in the Interim Report.
Yet it remains open to what extent this has been considered in the projections. Yet it remains unclear to what extent this was done. The effect of biofuel demand on the global food balance is explicitly addressed in supplementary papers e.
Fischer, Figure 2. If, instead, per capita GDP growth rates observed between and are assumed to prevail in the future i.
A final factor which impacts the future of the global food balance is the postharvest losses that occur along the food supply chain and at the household level see Section 4.
FAO, 40, Table 3. Postharvest losses assumed in the FAO studies are far below other estimates Thus, postharvest losses assumed in the studies are far below other estimates.
For this reason, it appears FAO projections for a decline in the aggregate are based on declining seed use instead of declining waste see Figure 2.
This total includes seed use, industrial use and waste. In addition to showing a decline in seed use and stable food loss percentages, Figure 2.
The main driver of the industrial utilization category is the use of cereals for bioethanol production. For example, the use of corn for bioethanol production in the US increased from 10 mil.
Whether and to what extent demand for cereals for ethanol production has been considered in the projections is unclear see below. Increases in the productivity of land improved may stem from several factors, including enhanced complementary inputs irrigation, fertilizer , improvements due to crop breeding, or improved farming techniques.
Information on other underlying productivity parameters is not specified in the report. Based on the increase in animal numbers Bruinsma, , Table 5.
Moreover, feed demand for cereals for overall livestock is specified, but no information is published on changes in feed conversion rates.
This can be compared to an increase in the production of all livestock products including meat, eggs and milk of 1. Thus, total livestock production and total feed demand for cereals increase by about the same rate.
From these figures, however, one cannot conclude that feed conversion rates remain constant, as they combine various effects: improvements in feed conversion, a changing composition between different livestock products, and changes in the composition of feed rations.
For product groups with a comparable value per quantity unit, such as cereals and meat, the increase is reported for the development of the total quantity.
Sources: Bruinsma 5 , own calculations. In developing countries, growth in total livestock products and meat production increase by a higher percentage than crop production.
In developed countries, by contrast, the increase in animal production is lower than that in crop production. Growth rates observed in the past are more than twice as high as those projected for the future Past growth rates in agricultural production has often been accompanied by the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources In order to put the projected increases in agricultural production into perspective, Table 2.
A comparison shows that for agriculture as a whole as well as for most product groups, the growth rates observed in the past are more than twice as high as those projected for the future, although they started from a much lower absolute level, of course.
On the supply side, declining growth rates in arable area, irrigation and the productivity of land assumed, and are sufficient to satisfy the increase in demand.
Furthermore, it should be taken into account that past growth rates in agricultural production was often accompanied by the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources e.
Bruinsma, Chapter Finally, the FAO projections can be put into perspective by comparing them to projections of the world food situation made by other institutions and author teams.
As discussed above, simulations based on such a model allow for the simulation of price changes and the straightforward formulation of scenarios based on alternative assumptions that can be analyzed quickly.
Due to the relatively dated nature of these projections, however, we also compare the FAO projections to Msangi and Rosegrant , who project the development of world food balances up to Generally speaking, world food projections tend to be quite much in line, as Figures 2.
Adequate conservation and storage techniques are needed to reduce postharvest losses. Deviations among the MA scenarios are somewhat larger, especially for meat, which is because of strongly differing scenario assumptions, including substantial differences in per capita income, which has greater impacts on meat than on cereal consumption.
This is a slightly more moderate estimate than FAO projections Bruinsma, , foreseeing an increase of cereal production by The initial report Bruinsma, , for example, has no chapter focussing on conclusions with policy relevance, and most conclusions formulated in the individual chapters on world food projections are rather technical.
One conclusion with strong political implications is that it is very unlikely that the World Food Summit target of halving undernourishment by would be met, even by FAO, 4.
Bruinsma contains more pronounced conclusions: he sees an improvement in the global food balance by , and asserts that the world as a whole could produce enough food for all by that time.
But he also hints at the remaining regional disparities which will leave large population groups in many countries undernourished Bruinsma, 3. Furthermore, Bruinsma highlights the importance of increasing agricultural production within food insecure countries in order to match local demand due to often limited import capacities ibid: Investment requirements have been quantified by Schmidhuber et al.
Despite the rather modest and technical policy conclusions made by the FAO, the projections have been used to argue for a tenfold increase in agricultural development aid by Jacques Diouf, Director General of the FAO Financial Times, , as well as to argue for more investment in agriculture.
Moreover, the projections are often cited in the public debate over hunger reduction e. FAO, b. Other policy recommendations such as those for income redistribution, better governance in countries with a high prevalence of food insecurity, changes in diets in industrialized countries, the reduction of postharvest losses or bioenergy subsidization would have been likely to raise more opposition.
It is not clear to what extent the FAO takes into account increasing demand for bioenergy 2. Furthermore, they are roughly in line with projections by other institutions.
Due to the intransparent presentation and insufficient documentation of assumptions and methodology, however, it is almost impossible to trace the results in light of the assumptions made.
As many of the assumptions are unknown, it is impossible to evaluate their validity compared to any alternatives. For example, it is not clear to what extent FAO takes into account increasing demand for bioenergy.
The assumed average global income growth rates for to are high compared to the past and may result in an overestimation of future demand. On the other hand, the effects of climate change are not yet considered in the projection of global supply.
Climate change may put further pressure on the world food balance. In this study, however, we discuss other measures which could be implemented to increase global food availability: the reduction of postharvest losses, the limiting of policy support for bioenergy in industrialized countries and the lowering of meat consumption in industrialized countries.
Such efforts would help to improve the global food balance and prevent global food prices from increasing to a level that would result in increasing food insecurity and poverty for people who spend a high share of their income on food.
But is the link between the global availability of food and undernourishment really that strong? It is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat.
Undernourishment is not a problem of global food availability, but of access to food. In conclusion, undernourishment is not a problem of global food availability, but of access to food.
And in the overwhelming majority of cases, it is the economic access to food that stands in the way of food security: Poverty is the main reason for food insecurity.
Yet even during such periods, hunger was not significantly reduced but the number of people suffering from hunger remained at a level above million FAO, 9.
Such measures lead to lower world market prices provided the region concerned is integrated into world markets. This, in turn, lowers the import bill of net food importing countries and, if prices are transmitted to regions with a high prevalence of undernourishment, improves the food status of net food buying households.
Assuming an own price elasticity of global supply of 0. The transmission of world market prices to domestic prices and to remote regions within countries is in particular often far from perfect.
In conclusion, improving the global availability of food is only a very indirect means of reducing hunger.
The main bottleneck to food security is instead the reduction of poverty. What is needed is investment in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and public services, as well as efforts to improve governance systems and institutions which allow markets to work within food insecure regions.
Finally, efforts focussing on poverty reduction are most important, including improving the ability of the poor to access education, land, employment and other income sources as well as to public services such as social safety nets and medical care von Braun, ; Heidhues, The relevance of food production within food insecure regions is also emphasized in the various FAO studies e.
Bruinsma, , Chapter 8. But even here the focus must be on poverty reduction: if higher incomes from agriculture accrue to only a few landowners with little trickle down effects, higher agricultural production may have little effect on reducing hunger.
Different crops have different postharvest characteristics: grains and pulses durables can have a storage life of several years, roots and tubers semi-perishables have a shelf life of weeks to several months.
For fresh fruit and vegetables shelf life can be very short. First, exploring additional options will increase the overall potential for improving the world food balance.
And second, increasingly scarce natural resources such as water, land, biodiversity, and fossil energy suggest that an exclusive focus on increasing agricultural production is problematic.
Many options to improve the world food balance exist, both on the demand and supply side. One option which could be easily implemented and would have direct and significant effects would be to abolish the policies to enhance demand for first generation liquid biofuels in the EU, US and other countries.
Furthermore, other policies that enhance the demand for biomass for energy production should be strongly narrow political interests. Moreover, indirect many cases policies which are currently in place are motivated by interests of vested lobbies and indirect effects on land use and the global food situation are not sufficiently taken into account.
We do not discuss the reduction of biofuel subsidies in detail, as it has been addressed in many papers recently. Nevertheless, we consider the revision of bioenergy policies as a self-evident option for improving the global availability of food.
This impact is expected to increase, mainly due to ongoing political efforts to increase demand for biofuels. A more equitable distribution of income has a high potential to decrease hunger Furthermore, a more equitable distribution of food, which could be achieved with a more equitable distribution of income, has a high potential to decrease hunger.
The higher the coefficient of variation, the more unequal the distribution. The reduction of meat demand in industrialized countries is of special interest as reduced meat consumption would have supplementary beneficial effects for human health, the environment, climate change and animal welfare.
In fact, a greater production increase than loss reduction is necessary to achieve the same level of food availability, since any production increase also suffers losses.
For this reason, loss reduction is regarded as the more sustainable, economical way to increase food availability by many experts Bender, ; Bourne, ; Grolleaud, While often overlooked, postharvest loss trends are an essential component to any world food projection.
Postharvest usually designates the period between completion of harvest and consumption e. Bourne, ; NAS, ; Parfitt et al.
Postharvest losses occur during threshing, grading, packaging, transport, storage, processing, distribution and marketing.
Throughout this study, we use the term of food waste to distinguish the losses beyond the point of purchase, i.
While quantitative losses can be measured by weight or volume, qualitative losses are much more difficult to assess.
The negative effects of micronutrient deficiencies on human capital and economic productivity are well known Hoffmann, This subchapter begins with the introduction of the major causes of postharvest losses.
In the following, an overview of the current extent of such losses and expected future trends is provided.
Finally, the validity of the assumptions made by the FAO as well as potential alternative assumptions are discussed. Technology can slow down this process but cannot stop it.
After the harvest, food is subject to a complex of biological, climatic, economic, social, cultural and political conditions Bender, ; Grolleaud, ; Parfitt et al.
The causes of postharvest losses can be classified as immediate or primary causes and underlying or secondary causes that cause or influence the immediate causes see Figure 4.
Underlying causes can be classified into the following categories: Many traditional varieties have good postharvest qualities. Different crops have different postharvest characteristics: grains and pulses durables can have a storage life of several years; roots and tubers semiperishables have a shelf life of weeks to several months; in the case of fresh fruit and vegetables shelf life can be very short; some highly perishable foods e.
Traditional varieties have usually been selected for their good keeping qualities e. Scarcity of research on postharvest problems Kelman, ; Smil, ; Wirsenius et al.
Improving postharvest methods is often costly and can only be justified if it is profitable Dixie, Peasant farmers are not squandering their harvests unnecessarily Grolleaud, The cost of an improvement including maintenance!
Food waste is found to be higher in more advanced economies due to changes in consumer attitudes These factors tend to increase supply chain losses in developing countries relative to developed countries.
In contrast, food waste is found to be higher in more advanced economies due to changes in consumer attitudes, values, behaviours and knowledge that accompany rising incomes Parfitt et al.
Since affluent consumers spend only a small proportion of their income on food, its value is less appreciated and waste seems harmless.
Concerns about food safety, demand for quality, high expectations in terms of food cosmetics and a growing disconnect between consumers and food production lead to edible, but imperfect food items being outgraded and thrown away before they are sold especially in industrial countries, but also among the more wealthy in developing countries.
Many of the numbers for developing countries that are cited in the literature date back to quite limited studies carried out in the s and s.
Since then, there has been technological progress and changes in markets and distribution systems. Thus there is little consensus on the current global level of food losses and waste Parfitt et al.
Bourne, ; World Resources Program, There are important differences in climate, economic development, postharvest systems and causes of losses between different countries and even within countries.
Furthermore, a universally applied method for measuring losses does not exist and a wide variety of approaches are used in different studies Grolleaud, ; World Resources Program, Therefore, it is difficult to draw conclusions about overall averages and it is advisable to be cautious about over-simplified results Grolleaud, Postharvest losses between farm and retail are higher in developing countries.
Although accurate data are not available there is general agreement that postharvest losses are heaviest in developing countries Kelman, However, if losses at the consumption stage are taken into account, the picture might be different.
Ambler-Edwards et al. While in developing countries the bulk of losses occur in the first part of the postharvest system between farm and retail , in developed countries they occur in rather late stages retail and consumption Kader, ; Lundqvist et al.
In the UK one-third of all food purchased is discarded by consumers, according to a study carried out by the waste and resources action programme WRAP, , an amount equal to 6.
Kantor et al. More recently Hall et al. Consumer waste in developing and transition economies seems to be significantly lower. Pekcan et al. Yet in addition to the poor empirical evidence for quantitative food losses, there are very few datasets on qualitative losses, with the existing studies in this area focussing on losses during storage.
Measurement here is even more problematic than for quantitative losses Parfitt et al. However, some data for single countries or sectors 35 that are available could give an idea of their order of magnitude.
In conclusion, both supply chain losses and consumer food waste seem to be correlated with the level of economic development and incomes, however in different directions.
We would expect supply chain losses to drop with higher levels of development and thus higher levels of development, as higher levels of technology become affordable, and food waste to rise with higher disposable incomes.
The total effect of economic development on overall postharvest losses in the absence of policy interventions is therefore ambiguous.
Low food prices in relation to disposable income encourage wasteful behavior 4. Rising incomes and changing consumer attitudes: According to AmblerEdwards , increasing food waste is concomitant with the transition to a more affluent diet.
Higher incomes result in increasing consumption and thus higher food wastage Nellemann et al. IAASTD expects the demand for products with high quality and safety standards to further grow in developed countries.
According to Parfitt et al. But overconsumption is not only a problem in developed countries. Wasteful food habits and excessive consumption are spreading among the better-off segments of the population in many middle- and lowincome countries.
For example, there are unprecedented levels of obesity in China, and in Shanghai alone more than tonnes of food a day are thrown out AmblerEdwards, ; Parfitt et al.
Dietary transition: In addition to the direct effects of higher income on food waste, there is an indirect effect resulting from changes in the composition of diets: the proportion of luxury foods increases relatively to staples Bender, ; Parfitt et al.
A higher proportion of perishable food items increases the risk of losses and wastage Lundqvist et al.
The rapid expansion of the fresh fruit and vegetable sector in transitioning countries is likely responsible for significant supply chain losses due to inadequate infrastructure.
Perishables also constitute the largest part of household food waste Parfitt et al. Urbanization and demographic changes: Urbanization results in longer food supply chains Parfitt et al.
An ageing population and the growth of single person households in developed countries lead to higher wastage rates.
Studies have found that large households waste less per person than smaller households and singles throw away more per capita. Adults waste more than children and young people waste more than older people.
Technological progress: Technological progress not only decreases supply chain losses but also affects food waste.
However, technological advances do not automatically result in consumer waste reductions. The relationship between refrigeration and food loss, for example, is complex and depends on factors such as lifestyle and attitudes to food Garnett, Mercado-Villavieja found Mexican households with refrigerators tend to waste more food than those without cited in Parfitt et al.
Better packaging can significantly reduce food waste but leads to higher solid waste Beede and Bloom, Vertical integration: Arrangements such as contract farming and vertical integration can significantly reduce postharvest losses within supply chains, however, more often than not at the cost of excluding small farmers and firms Goletti, , Parfitt et al.
Next to these factors which are closely related to economic development, two more factors may substantially affect future trends in postharvest losses: increasing real food prices and climate change.
Long term price trends would affect postharvest losses. Food prices have been decreasing for a long time, and despite recent price hikes, food is still relatively cheap.
Food price is recognized as the most important factor in determining consumer choices. Thus, except for the very poor, many consumers have little incentive to change their wasteful behavior Lundqvist et al.
However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the economic crisis has stimulated a shift in consumer attitude to food waste. In the long run, resource limitations are likely to increase the value of food.
This might lead to a more efficient postharvest system and consumer waste reduction Parfitt et al.
Finally, alongside food production, climate change will also affect the postharvest system. Extreme weather events could affect transport and storage infrastructure, and rising temperatures place greater demand on refrigeration, with the poor likely hardest hit Garnett, Introduction of new pest species and the exacerbation of existing pest problems are also likely to increase with climate change.
Current strategies for pest control could loose their effectiveness and reduce the flexibility of pest management in the future.
Higher temperatures could also lead to the deactivation of resistance genes in plants, thus increasing their vulnerability. Therefore, actions to reduce postharvest losses should focus on the first stages of the postharvest system.
However, it is advisable to keep in mind that with rising incomes food waste could increasingly become a problem that should be addressed as well.
Since data on the initial loss level and subsequent progress are missing, it is not possible to say what advances were made Parfitt et al. Although most authors agree that there is significant scope for reducing supply chain losses, concrete figures on reduction potential are rare.
The grain storage losses accepted by farmers in developed countries are very low at about 0. Bourne sees the average storage losses of 0.
Lundqvist et al. Although the evidence base is scarce, all studies reviewed agree that there is significant scope and need to reduce supply chain losses in developing countries, and that increasing production without addressing the postharvest system bears the risk of exacerbating the situation.
There are compelling arguments in favour of tackling postharvest losses, despite the lack of reliable data.
Heyes argues that internal rates of return from postharvest research are high. An impact study on research concerned with the large grain borer found that the benefits in Ghana and Tanzania alone outweighed the costs of all large grain borer research expenditures undertaken by all aid organizations Goletti and Wolff, Although these are only a few examples for the high positive impact of postharvest research, they suggest that the current lack of attention to these issues is not justified.
Furthermore, investment in the postharvest sector helps to achieve multiple goals. In addition to improving food and nutrition security, a growing postharvest sector can foster rural development and create rural employment opportunities, thus contributing to the development of the wider economy via production and consumption linkages, while reducing migration to urban centers.
Improved postharvest practices can improve competitiveness and facilitate access to lucrative export markets. Furthermore, support to the postharvest sector has the potential of enhancing gender equality and increasing employment opportunities for women, since they have traditionally played an important role in food processing, handling and preparation.
In addition, reducing postharvest losses can address environmental and sustainability issues, easing unnecessary pressure on natural and financial resources by reducing overproduction Goletti, In the late s and early s some international organizations, including FAO, started addressing the issue again with the information network on postharvest operations Inpho , a global postharvest forum phAction and a global postharvest initiative GphI.
However, the information gathered by these initiatives did not include any original research, and mostly dates from the s and s. Furthermore, there has not been any activity since Waste by consumers and food services are relatively more important and have become a significant problem in some affluent countries.
Nellemann et al. One suggestion is to use food waste as a substitute for animal feed. However, such practices are limited by current feed safety regulations, such as those in the European Union.
Bender sees the largest opportunities for consumer waste reduction in high income countries and expects savings from a reduction of losses in marketing and distribution in developing countries to be small.
There are large variations in wastage rates among countries of similar income levels. However, it is unclear to what extent increased efficiency is economically feasible.
Increased awareness and behavioral change could have significant impacts on consumer waste Parfitt et al. However, the large number of actors makes it difficult for policies to influence consumer behavior Lundqvist et al.
There is significant scope to improve labelling and the understanding of labelling by consumers Granett, ; Parfitt et al.
Research by WRAP in the UK suggests that there is significant scope for consumer waste reduction as most waste would be avoidable with better housekeeping, planning and clearer labelling.
WRAP is currently taking action to reduce waste at the consumption and retail levels. If successful, these programmes could be a model for other developed countries.
Packaging technology that improves shelf life of perishables could help to reduce consumer waste Garnett, ; Parfitt et al.
However, this waste reduction has to be traded off with higher packaging waste Beede and Bloom, Another important consideration is that if people wasted less food, they might use the money saved to consume more resource-intensive luxury food products or more non-food products with high environmental impacts.
If policies are not aware of possible knock-on effects, changes in one aspect of consumption behaviour will simply shift the problem to another area Garnett, Investment in research as well as postharvest loss reduction policies is too low 4.
Regarding the objective of achieving food security, the focus should be on reducing postharvest losses in food insecure regions.
This would have the additional benefits of increasing food availability and generating income along supply chains.
Currently, investment in research as well as policies to reduce postharvest losses is too low. Without more systematic research on the extent of losses, measuring progress against any global reduction target is impossible Parfitt et al.
Furthermore, successfully implemented measures to reduce losses are needed in order to establish precedents that allow an estimation of the potential for reducing global food waste as one answer to the challenge of feeding nine billion people by The potential for reducing of postharvest losses to improve the world food balance is illustrated in Table 4.
Table 4. Own calculations. If losses could be reduced by half to 7. This translates into a In other words, if losses could be reduced by 7. Agricultural production depends on various resources that will become more scarce in the future land, water, energy.
As meat-based diets are on average more resource intensive than plant-based diets Marlow et al. Within this context, the sustainability of current meat consumption in developed countries has gained broad attention in the media ScienceDaily, various issues; MailOnline, as well as in the scientific debate Stehfest et al.
Decreasing meat demand in industrialized countries could represent one part of a solution to ease future resource pressures.
As a side effect, decreased meat consumption would be likely to lower agricultural prices, and, in turn, enhance food security by reducing the food cost for net food buying households.
Political measures could contribute to achieving such a demand shift, including the introduction of a consumer tax on meat and consumer awareness campaigns in developed countries.
The following Section 4. Section 4. Next, Section 4. Finally, Section 4. Due to the already high level of consumption in developed countries, growth rates have been modest in the developed world.
By contrast, in the developing countries, average per capita growth rates have been immense. Soil and fertilisation 10 projects Living propagation stock 26 projects Crop protection 22 projects Animal health 3 projects Farm management 7 projects Farming systems 36 projects Rural areas 1 project Agro-chains 11 projects Market and Consumers 2 projects Man and society 3 projects Knowledge chains 11 projects Website: www.
Jordforsk, Fredrik A. Box St. Henryk Runowski, Prof. Jerzy Szymona, Ass. Researchers: Prof. The organization has following main goals:! Crop production arable crops, grassland, horticultural crops in breeding, variety testing, production technique, plant protection and quality improvement.
Animal husbandry small and big ruminants, poultry, pigs and bees in breeding, freerange systems, feeding and housing.
Animal health ruminants, poultry and pigs focussing on herd management, prevention, biocontrol and complementary medicine.
Socio-economics focussing on farm management and economics, markets and consumers, policy assessment and sociological studies.
Biodiversity and landscape improvements. Processing methods and technical procedures esp. Overall budget in research and knowledge transfer for organic farming: 7.
Director: Dr. Urs Niggli. Research focus in organic arable crops and grassland in evolution. Contact person: Dr. Padruot M. Fried, Head Department for Production Systems.
Dubois fal. Fried fal. Ursula R. Fax E-Mail landw. To assess the economic implications of converting to organic production;!
To compare the environmental effects of organic farming compared to other types of agriculture;! To relieve constraints to organic production, so to make organic farming more attractive, and commercially viable;!
To ensure that technology transfer is maximised. Project areas:! Animal Production 9 projects! Animal Health and Welfare 4 projects!
Nutrients and Soil Fertility 6 projects! Environmental 2 projects! Economics of Organic Farming 3 projects! Crops 17 projects! Plant Pests and Diseases 9 projects!
Dr Ray Keatinge, Dr W. Organic Farming is a high priority topic within one of the four strategic key areas of the research programme PFEIL By taking into account the political priorities Strategy on Organic Farming in Austria; BMLFUW research in Organic Farming will be pushed forward and the budget allocated for research in this area will increase from This network includes all scientists in organic farming and is based on interdisciplinary research.
Any other issues you feel are important in driving research on organic agriculture Research activities in the area of organic farming are connected closely to defined methodological criteria as requirements for a systems oriented approach in organic farming3: - Interdisciplinary - holistic approach - Long-term initiatives - Site orientation - Practical orientation - Regionally related approaches An expert roundtable has been initiated involving different stakeholders researchers, organic agriculture organisations, NGOs, etc.
Scope for co-ordinating national programmes at a European level We have to take into consideration, that national programmes are worked out under specific requirements and with different geographical conditions, nevertheless there is a need for co-ordination in some areas and the support of networking at a European level.
Van Huylenbroeck Universiteit Gent 2. Van Cleemput, Prof. The team of scientists involved in this research is as follows: - Dr I. Papastylianou, Co-ordinator Dr P.
Charalambus, Entomologist Mrs Th. Kapari, Plant Pathologist Mr G. Eliades, Soil Scientist Mr N. Vouzounis, Weed specialist Mr S.
Gregoriou, Potato specialist Mrs M. Ioannou, Vegetable production specialist Dr A. Georgiou, Citrus-Olives specialist Also three new recently appointed scientists, will be involved with organic agriculture in their future studies.
There is an urgent need for production of a package of knowledge for production under Cyprus soil and climatic conditions.
Until this is succeeded the growth rate of organic production will remain very slow. Detailed information can be obtained from www.
In the later part some general comments on research co-ordination are given. Danish research in organic farming Throughout the s organic production has grown rapidly in Denmark.
In the organic area will approach close to 7 percent of the total agricultural area. This development has been supported through the preparation of national policies action plans.
Coordinating centres As a direct result of the first action plan for organic farming in Denmark the Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming DARCOF was founded in with the objective to provide the overall framework for Danish research on organic farming.
Its aim is to elucidate the ideas and problems faced in organic farming through the promotion of high quality research of international standard.
Research facilities A series of unique research facilities are set up to provide opportunity for conducting different projects simultaneously, using the same research fields, herds, etc.
The facilities included two organic research stations, crop rotation trials, organic workshop sites and agreements with private organic farmers who make their farms available for research.
The main aim of SOAR is to improve and strengthen teaching of ph. Completed research From to 33 research projects at a total cost of app.
The research provided new knowledge on the possibilities for establishing sustainable and productive organic production systems. The initiative consist of 42 major research projects, it last from to and is has a total value of app.
In Appendix 1 a list of projects and the leading scientists are given. Challenges to organic research Research at many different levels in the agricultural system can be of relevance to organic farming.
By establishing a "centre without walls" where the actual research is performed in interdisciplinary collaboration between the participating research groups situated at existent research institutions, it is possible to use the knowledge and expertise of different research groups.
The construction is thus especially suitable for making both analytical research and solving complex and interdisciplinary problems in organic farming.
The decentralised structure provides the framework for a flexible form of organisation, as well as good opportunities to draw on the greatest expertise and the best facilities available in the research system.
Furthermore, synergistic interactions are encouraged through collaboration between different research environments and through the complementary nature of research in organic farming and other disciplines.
On the other hand this decentralised structure carries the risk that the research effort could become too diffuse and disjointed. This would impede the assimilation of new 10 knowledge on organic farming, as well as the scientific impact of new research findings, nationally and internationally.
Among others, the challenge is therefore to maintain research of high quality and of international standard.
However, organic farming is characterised by a "recycling and prevention" rather than a "chain and cure" approach. It is thus not so much the particular methodologies, which characterise organic farming, but rather the overall context and mutual relationships within which problems are defined.
The overview concludes that the research volume in organic farming has been at a level of MEUR 2,5 annually in recent years. The main part of it has been supported by the MAF either by the budget of its research institutes mainly AgriFood Finland MTT and the Game and Fisheries Research Institute or, by financing competitive research projects from its non-allocated research budget.
The main research funding agencies, the Academy of Finland and Tekes and the National Technology Agency have supported research in organic farming only in individual projects.
The participation of industries in the so-far carried out projects have been very marginal, although it seems that the interest is rising.
The MAF has an annual budget of Meur 7,0 for agricultural and food research for competitive research projects proposed by the scientific community.
The expert group proposed a more systematic approach to organic farming research and a substantial increase in the funding.
Therefore, the MAF has decided to launch a Meur 3 research programme for for research in this field. The expert working group suggested the following priority areas for the next 3 years: Quality and risks of organic food; Consumer oriented product development; Maintenance of soil fertility; Safe recycling of organic waste; Improved production of seeds; Improved production of organic milk and meat; Animal welfare and organic farming; Local food systems; Role of organic farming in multifunctional and pluriactive agriculture.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Dept. It is the recognized and historical player for applied research in that sector.
The implementation of a medium-term plan for development of organic farming, in , has resulted in the involvement of new partners in organic farming research: technical institutesChambers of agriculture Willing to set up longstanding partnerships with these new players in organic farming research, ITAB has developed close relations with the organizations active in conventional research.
Thus, ITAB plays a central role in this network by liaising the different actions and ensuring the link between farmers and researchers and is recognize by ANDA7 as national coordinator for research and technical actions in the field of organic farming.
Sylvander and S. Bellon document 1,9 2 1,64 1,25 0,35 8,75! CNRS: soil fertility, environmental risk assessment in a dairy farming!
ENSAM: wine growing! ENSAR: sustainability of organic farming! ISARA: fertilization! ESA Angers: organic feed quality for pig farming,!
GRAB: horticulture, fruit and wine growing! CREAB: cereal growing! Private research:! Biolait: quality of organic milk!
Danon : quality of organic product! Moreover, ITAB has recently started to elaborate and coordinate some multidisciplinary research programs, regarded as first priority by organic farmers.
Organization To conduct these actions efficiently, ITAB is organised in committees, for each production animal breeding, arable crops, wine growing, fruit and vegetables and on crosscutting issues agronomy and production systems, product quality and seeds.
Publications and manifestations The Technical Institute of Organic Farming publishes a technical review: Alter-Agri, some technical guides The quality of organic products, organic fertilisation, organic arboriculture, These conferences allow scientists and farmers to have technical exchanges.
Although this starting point still leaves scope for analytical research, it is also likely to reinforce the systemic approach.
It leads to an understanding of the processes employed in production under the constraints of regulatory standards. Those principles therefore combine academic criteria and compliance with the requirements of OF.
So far work has begun on compiling a database of scientific literature, scientific seminars on specific questions have been held in association with OF organisations ITAB and non-INRA researchers and practitioners, and a research program is under development by organising an in-house invitation-totender, in accordance with the applicable regulations.
The INRA allocates 5. So far 55 projects have been assessed and 20 are on-going. About 32 full-time researchers work on those projects. The following questions are crucial to the research program: What are the specific features of research into OF?
Subsequently, does science need to change its objectives and approaches increasing specialisation vs.
Introduction Agricultural institutions and trade organisations have long viewed organic farming OF as a marginal activity.
The INRA has been no exception, maintaining reservations about the practice. However, recent political recognition of OF has prompted various organisations to draw up policies to promote it.
In France, this shift can be dated to the December introduction of a medium-term plan for the development of organic farming. The INRA, for its part, announced its commitment to a research program in January , while emphasising the need to comply with 9 National Institute for Agricultural Research 24 the rules governing all research activity.
In this paper we indicate how the INRA intends to move ahead in this area and we give examples of its activities. The INRA serves as a platform for the objectives and resources of most scientific disciplines with a bearing on agriculture, the environment, and food.
At present, the INRA has approximately 8, employees, of whom 1, are research scientists working in teams that also include engineers, technicians, and administrative staff.
These teams are grouped into 17 research departments with each department pursuing its own scientific objectives within the strategic framework laid down by the institute.
Basic principles The INRA seeks to pursue an all-round approach combining cross-disciplinary and partnership-based research. It views OF as an agricultural prototype and draws the consequences of this in terms of its potential scientific repercussions.
This starting point still allows for analytical research while also reinforcing the systemic approach. It leads to an understanding of the processes involved in farming to meet strict production standards and should, in the long term, yield innovative solutions.
A further challenge is to understand the way in which the demands that society makes of OF are to be analysed and ranked by order of importance, whether in terms of production, processing, or control of the outputs of OF product quality, ecological balance, environmental impact, macro-economic optimisation, etc.
The task of the INRA's Internal Committee on Organic Farming is to make progress on various fronts: knowledge of OF through the compilation of a database of scientific reference works with links to other databases , scientific seminars through the organisation of conferences on specific topics in association with OF organisations and with the participation of INRA and non-INRA scientists and practitioners10 , and the development of a research program through the organisation of an in-house invitation-to-tender under the applicable regulations.
The aim of this project is to identify motivated in-house teams and to construct a network that is both consistent and reliable in terms of sharing information, defining objectives and methods, providing research incentives, and evaluating and transferring results.
This group is to support the DGER in coordinating programs on research, development, and education.
Current activities: internal projects In , the INRA supported a number of research teams and experimental units currently working on OF.
The main objective was to strengthen such units and to enhance their research achievements by providing additional financing. Here are three examples from different domains.
Because, in organic crop farming, the discrepancy between the kinetics of crop requirements and the soil nitrogen mineralisation rate affects wheat yield and grain quality and in order to help reduce the shortage of organic cereals in France, support was given to research into improving the nitrogen management of winter wheat by optimising spring fertilisation.
In fruit growing, an experimental unit SE France has been working for several years to optimise organic peach and apple production techniques.
Fertilisation is being investigated by monitoring both the nitrogen mineralization rate in soils and fruit quality. This work has now been extended to apple growing.
The effects of mixed hedgerows on fauna that are beneficial to orchards is also under study and ties in with the wider question of biodiversity.
In organic livestock farming, priority has been given to sheep farming in the central mountain area of France. The aim is to compare two grass-based feeding systems with a view to extending lamb production periods.
The study specifically addresses connections between animal feeding practices and health through a cross-disciplinary approach combining technical and economic studies, and associating research, training, and development activities across a range of structures.
These are described with examples below. As expected, responses came from research units and technical institutes alike. A common feature of the projects is their cross-disciplinary nature and the use of a battery of methods field and laboratory studies, modeling, and testing.
One project seeks to reduce the use of copper by identifying disease tolerant crop varieties, optimizing copper application methods, and testing crop management strategies.
The project also tests alternative products and bio-stimulators and evaluates the effects of applying copper on various soil types with perennial crops.
The research seeks to understand the biological processes involved and to develop alternative control strategies.
Proposed projects on the production of seed and plants suitable for OF relate mostly to the actual planting material, particularly for field and tree crops.
However, for seed production, a sanitary quality insurance process is also planned, focusing on key crop species and diseases.
For the future, the INRA considers it essential for research programs to investigate organic food quality taste, nutritional quality, and safety and wider social issues such as the environmental impact of OF as well as animal welfare, ethical trading, etc.
Finally, we intend to evaluate our approach based upon systemic thinking and partnership-based research. Discussion We have little hindsight as yet and it is still too early for a review, but we can propose a number of ideas.
One approach would be to argue that science is the same everywhere for everyone and that such a program should consider OF more as an area of research, separating the applied objectives that are specific to OF from the scientific objectives and resources that are generic OF as an area of research.
A second approach would be to treat OF as a specific object of scientific research and to maintain that specific objects involve specific mechanisms and methods, even if they must still bear the hallmark of scientific rigor OF as a scientific object.
We feel it is too early to decide either way and that the program should be assessed on the basis of concrete experience.
The options should therefore be kept open as far as possible. However, we see the debate as an important one for two reasons. The first is obviously scientific and epistemological, while the second is political and institutional.
The future of research programs on OF will probably be determined in part by the way the debate is conducted and concluded. Institutionally, the main thing is to convince research scientists themselves that a program on OF is scientifically worth while and that they can make a successful career out of projects of this sort.
If the argument goes in favour of OF as a non specific area of research, the scientific questions of interest will still need answering, although there may be fewer of them.
Conversely, if the argument goes in favour of OF as a specific scientific object, the program may become even more worth while in the future.
This debate is an important one and should be conducted both within the scientific community and between the scientists and the practitioners of OF within the context of the partnership arrangements referred to earlier in this paper.
An essential condition for doing this is to show mutual respect for each party and its explicit rules. Scientists must be willing to accept the constraints of production standards as defining a model of farming under constraint and must construct their projects and protocols accordingly and therefore by discussing their objectives and characteristics with practitioners.
This entails, in field experiments, constantly questioning the practitioners so as to learn about farming in accordance with the rules and practices of OF.
Lastly, partnership-based research implies planning from the outset to include the relevant categories for action Sebillotte, Likewise practitioners will find it helpful to understand the logic behind the scientific approach: scientific questions are initially practical questions asked in different ways, often by over simplifying; they must be innovative and should not aim merely to apply or adapt tried-and-tested ideas; they are not therefore confined to experiments designed to test a given technique; protocols must be rigorous; results may be unexpected and even contrary to what was hoped for; they may sometimes be of little 27 immediate benefit and they may take a long time to acquire; finally scientific knowledge is universal in character and must be certified by academic publication if it is to exist at all.
This mutual respect implies that neither partner can demand that the other break with the relevant ground rules. However, the partners may construct a common culture around the debate without either side imposing its culture on the other.
In the day-to-day work of partnership-based research many things need to be developed jointly, both when deciding on the research objectives and when deciding how to achieve them.
First, partnership-based research cannot be conducted successfully without clear objectives that are prioritised and agreed to by scientists and practitioners alike.
Experience shows that this is difficult to achieve. Should one opt for fast and ambitious expansion of OF or slow but steady development based on a niche strategy?
Among other things, this question dictates which localised and generic production techniques and systems are to be promoted as being consistent with the regulatory standards.
Are we moving toward exclusively mixed crop-livestock farming systems or should specialised systems be developed? What are the consequences for major crops and for fertilisation?
What connections are there with research into varieties suitable for OF? Should we seek to classify general objectives by rank order or to define relevant and viable categories of situation?
In the case of genetic selection of wheat varieties in OF, for example, the ordering of the criteria of productivity, nitrogen content, ground cover rate, disease resistance, and straw length is necessarily related to the production systems employed.
The multiplicity of situations seems to call for several rank orders but assumes some degree of openness in the choice of production systems which may not be agreed to by all and which could explain why there is no unanimous agreement about the criteria.
It also assumes that we have data about the most relevant situations, which is difficult at present. Production standards are an obvious starting point prototype but they are liable to change in line with the technical and ethical logic of production or in accordance with new objectives related to society's demands.
In addition, standards may be interpreted in accordance with situations and practices, which illustrates the diversity and variability of production systems even within OF.
As concerns the research mechanisms, the first approach OF as an area of research implies that once the objectives have been defined e.
The second approach entails reflecting about just how specific the research is. For example, OF calls for a systemic approach in its very conception of production.
This is not completely exclusive, as systemic research is carried out for other production systems, but the approach may help in differentiating some OF research from strictly analytic approaches.
In some instances, it seems that the system can be broken down into almost independent sub-units this 28 might be the case for research in the Camargue on hard wheat and rice: genetic research, production systems, and value-enhancement processes are all partly independent.
This is not self-evident and caused fierce debate within the team and with the practitioners. As such, it is pointless opposing comparisons suspected by some practitioners of tending to "evaluate OF" and the study of how an actual organic system operates, as the two approaches can be complementary.
Niggli and O. Schmidt, Another source of specific features about research into OF could be the understanding of biological variability, which is the corollary of agriculture based on natural equilibria.
This presupposes that practitioners and scientists alike come to consider learning about the scientific management of variability of living organisms in an uncertain environment as a primary objective.
This is not a straightforward question as it is beset by scientific and political controversies. It prompts scientists to think about intentionally reducing variability this is often the case in animal hygiene and product hygiene , and goes as far as genetic engineering.
Adapting varieties to various situations may for example lead some geneticists to want to return to "population varieties" while their colleagues only see progress in F1 hybrids.
This choice is not self-evident as it leads to controversy and contains very real challenges for scientists and laboratories.
Practitioners too are confronted with this question, for example, about how far and in what way to codify practices in production standards, which are necessarily simplifications compared with the actual diversity of practices and local situations.
In doing this, legitimate questions are raised about generalising OF and about the limits of the system. Finally comes the question of approaches that are so radically new compared with "standard" scientific approaches that they confound the scientists.
This is the case, for example, with the principles of biodynamic agriculture, of homeopathy, or the "global" approach to quality based among other things on "tangible crystallisation".
Such approaches demand a special effort if they are to be changed into research questions, and skills that are not necessarily found in institutes like the INRA, prior studies of the literature in which validation by outside experts and scientific debate are primordial in insuring stringent protocols and general results.
This process is not necessarily beyond reach but it will take time. From the outset, they adopt a "procedural" posture of science in the making by the sociological interplay of the world of research and its environment, Latour, and of scientific research programs advocated by Lakatos Cabaret, This calls for a large dose of modesty, both because scientific truth is by definition falsifiable and consequently knowledge is historically dated and because what were thought of as linear orientations of agronomic research defined by their own internal logic were in fact greatly influenced by the objectives of a historically dated agricultural policy and by the industrial rationale of the post-war period.
Conclusions and recommendations In conclusion, it can be said that the complexity of the question and the specific nature of research in OF, addressed in this paper, should prompt us to a good deal of modesty and patience, since the various projects need to be evaluated with a view to validating or rejecting many of the hypotheses set out here.
The examples of partnership-based research conducted by the INRA so far show that these are always historically long processes14 that are time consuming and that entail gradual, mutual learning processes with a view to defining common objectives as well as finalizing as joint constructions mechanisms that are often complex and difficult to manage.
In addition, this type of research assumes, as we have seen, transverse scientific leadership, continual project monitoring, evaluation from the standpoints of scientists and practitioners and, of course, the unfailing support of the institutions and their research departments.
On a more political front we need: a to lobby for a permanent network compiling the research projects in progress, project results, and scientific publications throughout Europe.
This urgent question must be put before the EU b to work out a co-ordination system in order to gather practitioners' requirements for further research: farmers, processors, consumers, institutions certification bodies, etc.
This system must extend to different levels: the projects themselves and the overall political level c to complete research projects, in order to reach a single definition of what organic farming is in Europe, since diverse interpretations of the EU regulations lead to unfair competition within the organic market and mar the image of OF d to conduct projects in closer relationship with non organic research, in order to legitimise the specificity of OF in scientific terms and to ensure positive exchanges between research on conventional and organic farming systems e to diversify the fields of research: OF's impact on the environment and rural development, better definition of animal welfare, nutritional and hygienic quality of organic products, consumer expectations and general education concerning agriculture in general i.
Cabaret J. Lakatos I. Latour B. Niggli U. Riba, G. Sebillotte M. Sylvander, B. Development of production systems in potato growing Plant breeding for potato growing Environmental risk assessment in dairy farming Sustainability of OF holdings in dairy farming Organic milk quality and supply chain management Plant breeding in cereals, cabbage, cauliflower Influence of wheat cultivation management on mycotoxins Cultivation of organic oilseed rape Influence of OF on nitric waste in soil Development of organic rice and hard wheat in Camargue marshlands in southern France Organic fertilisation in vegetable growing Organic feed quality for pig farming Collaborative projects Call opened by INRA and ACTA, How to reduce the use of copper Controlling grapevine yellows Production of seeds and plants in OF Fertilisation in OF 32 GERMANY Publicly-funded research on organic agriculture and food production in Germany In , the Federal Programme "Organic Agriculture" was launched in Germany.
These can be grouped in three areas around the value-added chain, complemented by two interdisciplinary areas: 1 2 3 4 5 "Agricultural Production" "Recording and Processing" "Trade, Marketing and Consumers" "Technology Development and Transfer" "Accompanying Measures" At the core of the funded projects so far are: - - Status quo analyses of different production procedures Status quo analyses and the development of strategies for the solution of present problems in organic agriculture nutrition supply, crop protection including stock protection.
Analyses of organic seed and plant production and of special issues of organic husbandry Comprehensive issues of production technology Processing of organic products and quality aspects Socio-economic analyses in the area of organic agriculture and of processing of organic products Marketing of organic products and demand for bioproducts including out-of-home catering Analysis of the contribution of organic agriculture to reaching social goals Certification and control systems in the area of organic agriculture.
Detailed information on the programme and the funded projects so far is available on the website www.
It has a separate department with 6 specialised areas in organic agriculture. Leading scientists are Prof. Most universities and the FAL have their own test farms.
Areas where there is scope for co-ordinating national programmes at a European level Co-operation at European level seems to be very useful, particularly in the areas of developing new strategies in organic animal and crop production as well as in processing, quality assessment and control.
The last six years the fund has supported projects in organic production with about 6. The Agricultural Productivity Fund has in supported projects in organic agriculture with 8.
An official government policy or programme for research in organic agriculture is being prepared by an Advisory Committee for Organic Agriculture, which has been working on priorities in research in organic agriculture.
Research projects in organic agriculture Plant and animal nutrition A research programme on hay production in an organic system was carried out in The programme was initiated as a beginning of research aimed at the problem of building up and maintaining a fertile soil without artificial fertilisers and to gain experience from the use of legumes in animal feeding.
Horticulture Another project especially designed for organic horticulture was carried out in The purpose was to test the use of various organic wastes in greenhouse cultivation of tomatoes.
The project was supported by the Agricultural Productivity Fund with 1. The results from these experiments expressed mainly as DM yields are available in experimental reports published over a large number of years.
The table below summarises some research projects relevant to organic agriculture. Danso and G. Hardarson Nitrogen accumulation in sole and mixed stands of sweet-blue lupin Lupinus angustifolius L.
Plant and Soil , Danso, F. Is nitrogen transferred between field crops? Examining the question through a sweet blue lupin Lupinus angustifolius L.
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation in lupin and clover in Iceland. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation estimated by the use of 15N dilution method in annual blue lupin and perennial Nootka lupin in Iceland.
Tenth International Lupin Conference. Wild and Cultivated Lupins from the Tropics to the Poles. Program and Abstract Book p.
Laugarvatns Iceland Growth of rhizobia at low temperatures. Variation amongst survivor populations of white clover collected from sites across Europe.
Growth attributes and physiological responses to low temperature. Annals of Botany, accepted. Overwintering of Trifolium repens L.
Annals of Botany, xxx-xxx. A model approach to plant-environment interactions. The role of introduced plant material for sustainable development agriculture in northern areas.
Winter hardiness of white clover Trifolium repens. White clover Rhizobium symbiosis: Svenning M. Leinonen Annals of Botany 88, Svenning M.
Interactions between white clover Trifolium repens L. Proceeding at Cost Crop development for cool and wet regions of Europe.
Agricultural Research Institute Reykjavik. Experiment with white and red clover p. The value of compost used in land reclamation Agricultural Research Institute Reykjavik.
RALA report no. Jensen, B. Stenberg, T. Breland, T. Henriksen, F. Palmason, A Pedersen, T. Salo, Near-infrared spectroscopy NIR for characterization of plant residue quality.
Book of Abstracts. The Agricultural College Hvanneyri. Report from the Agricultural College Hvanneyri. In Icelandic. Respiration in peat soil- the effect of organic and artificial fertilizer.
Soil and yield. Organic horticulture, espesially for home gardening, the cultivation of berry bushes and trials for strains of agricultural crop plants.
Ongoing project. New project The projects above are not especially designed for organic agriculture but are also of use for organic farmers e.
Other studies, e. However the market is growing. One of the main reasons for the slow development of organic agriculture in Iceland is probably the good reputation of conventional agriculture in the country with almost no use of herbicides and pesticides and moderate use of inorganic fertilizers, the greatest technical obstacle are, however, shortage of organic fertilizers and lack of suitble legumes for crop rotations.
It seems that only a offical policy increasing support to organic agriculture can have an effect, provided there is also a market for organic products.
Moreover it would be helpful if offical policy targets were set. Areas where there is scope for co-ordinating national programmes at European level For a small community like Iceland the participation in co-ordinated research programmes has proven to be a valuable support for the development of research.
But it is most important that projects can be realized on a scale manageable for the smaller countries, in relation tothe additive effects of expertise, exchange of ideas etc.
Important areas of research, which might benefit from co-ordination 1. Plant nutrient cycling. The maintenance and building up of soil fertility in organic farming has to be based on incorporation of legumes in crop rotations as well as the use of manure and composts.
A long-term co-ordinated program in this area on field or even farm level seems to be suited to organic farming. The level of available phosphorous and other nutrients in soil should be monitored over the years.
Legume projects. As listed above a Cost project dealing with overwintering and yield of white clover has been going on.
A continued research in this field seems to be valuable for organic agriculture. Projects in sheep production, horticulture and fish farming.
Marketing and distribution of organic products in rural areas e. The contribution is based on written information, interviews and personal experience.
Organic agriculture is still in its early stages of development in Iceland with only some 40 farmers and processors involved in certified organic production.
Beginning with outdoor vegetable growing and glasshouse production the range has extended into hay, silage, barley, herbs, meat, milk, eggs, trees, flowers and seaweed products according to a national law and regulations on organic agricultural production, within IFOAM and EU frameworks.
Other certified products are likely to follow in the future such as arctic char, salmon and eiderdown. Recently there has been a growth in imports of organic food, mainly of fruits not grown in Iceland.
Although the growing season is short and the climate is cool in Iceland, a mountainous country of For example, the use of drugs and agrochemicals is at low levels and there is little pollution in a sparsely populated and isolated country, which is free from several well-known animal and plant diseases.
The standard of animal welfare is generally high. On the other hand, there are several obstacles to be overcome, for example, difficulties in growing legumes, such as clover, shortage of organic fertilisers and feeds, soil erosion in some parts of the country and reluctance to accept organic growing practices.
The enhanced interest in the conversion to organic farming practices in all parts of Iceland is indeed a great challenge to the scientific community to seek sustainable solutions to such problems.
This is reflected in certain measures to strengthen research, development, teaching and advisory work and parallel to this progress special efforts are being made to promote and market ecolabelled produce.
More financial resources are needed, however, to accelerate the development of the organic sector.
Since sustainable agriculture is on the agenda of the Government of Iceland, it is logical to believe that greater attention will be paid to organic farming in the future.
Furthermore, official policy of quality control in all branches of agriculture should benefit the organic sector with its favourable public image.
Rural depopulation is a major problem in Iceland. Ways and means are being sought to provide stable employment based on local resources.
The development of organic production can certainly be one means of strengthening farming communities and local processing industries throughout Iceland.
A growing market in which fair prices are paid is vital in the light of increasing globalisation and stronger competition in all sectors of the national economy.
However, on this mountainous island of Thus the farmers of Iceland produce sufficient food of animal origin for the domestic market, and some for export, as well as substantial amounts of vegetables, partly in geothermally heated glasshouses.
Although organic agriculture is still at the early stages of development in Iceland there appears to be a great potential for its development.
This presentation reviews the scientific and technical prospects for organic farming under Icelandic conditions with special reference to soil fertility, crop production, rangeland management and animal husbandry.
Climate Due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream the climate of Iceland is not as cold as its name and global position suggest.
However, the summer may be described as short and cool. There is considerable variation in temperature within the country and more so in precipitation, as shown in Table 1.
Table 1 Temperature and precipitation at four locations in Iceland Mean annual Mean Temperature 0C precipitation Location mm January July Year South -0,4 11,3 4,8 East -1,6 10,4 3,6 North -2,1 10,4 3,4 West -1,3 9,9 3,7 Source: The Icelandic Meteorolgical Bureau In fact, rangeland vegetation in the highlands of the Northeast may even suffer from droughts at times.
More than half of the total area of Iceland is m or more above sea level and the effect of climatic variation on vegetation growth at varying altitudes 1 and on carrying capacity of rangeland pastures 2 has been clearly demonstrated.
Soil In geological terms Iceland is a young country where volcanic eruptions, on the average once every five years in historic times, greatly influence both the formation and nature of soils.
Such soils are fragile and susceptible to erosion and they are generally characterised by a coarse and weak structure. Contents of both clay and organic matter are normally low.
However, peat bog soils, where a large proportion of the cultivation has taken place, are high in organic matter 3, 4. For the cultivation of grass and other arable crops Icelandic soils are by and large deficient in the basic soil nutrients N, P and K, and the same applies to rangeland soils with the exception that the K content is normally satisfactory for the natural vegetation growing there.
Soil erosion, mainly due to wind and water, has for centuries been and still is, a major problem, particularly in the rangeland areas of the greatest volcanic activity stretching from the Southwest to the Northeast 5.
Since relatively small areas of cultivated 41 land are ploughed up per year soil erosion in Iceland is generally looked upon as a rangeland problem only.
There are, however, cases of soil erosion on arable land, particularly where potatoes are grown continuously on sandy soils 6.
Vegetation The Icelandic flora comprises relatively few plant species due to the isolation of the country, harsh climate and short growing season.
Furthermore, the soil erosion has in many areas resulted in widespread deterioration of the natural vegetation 7. Table 2 shows that large areas of the country are poorly vegetated.
Table 2. On the rangelands where native grasses and sedges are the most important grazing plants, no fertilisers are applied.
Common application rates for hayfields are kg N, 20 kg P and 50 kg K per hectare, they are somewhat higher for arable crops such as Italian ryegrass, turnips, potatoes, cabbages and carrots but barley grown for grain production receives lower N rates 8.
Agricultural production Although the human population of Iceland has more than doubled over the last 50 years and the number of farmers has fallen considerably, agricultural production has for several years been more than sufficient to meet domestic market demand for livestock products such as meat, milk and eggs and there is a growing supply of vegetables and barley.
The use of geothermally heated glasshouses enables farmers in some districts to grow a wider range of crops such as cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. Table 3 below summarises the estimated proportional value of agricultural products in Iceland.
It underlines the fact that grassland-based enterprises, mainly cattle and sheep production, are of the utmost importance.
Although organic growing has only attracted widespread attention in recent years it should be kept in mind that Icelandic agriculture was largely based on organic principles until the middle of the 20th century.
During the intervening period only a few pioneers have practiced recognised organic growing but since the tide has been turning A total of 40 organic farmers and processors have been certified since of whom 2 are biodynamic.
From the Soil Association in the United Kingdom undertook organic inspection and certification in Iceland on a temporary basis but since Icelandic inspection and certification services have been provided by two verifying agencies registered according to a new law and regulations.
The text of the regulations is available in both Icelandic and English Amongst other important steps taken to strengthen the development of organic farming in recent years are the foundation of the National Association of Organic Farmers VOR in , the establishment of the Ministry of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Organic Agriculture in and the Council for Science and Technology in Organic Agriculture in Imports have been increasing in recent years, mainly of fruit and vegetable products, but as yet only organic lamb and seaweed products have been exported.
Positive aspects In an ad hoc working group looking into the scientific and technical prospects of organic farming under Icelandic conditions presented a report to the Minister of Agriculture.
Both advantages and restrictions were addressed in an objective way 43 Recent student projects at university and college levels have also helped to analyse the present situation and to identify the main areas of research and development needed to realise the potential of organic agriculture under Icelandic conditions 14,15,16,17,18,19, Overseas visitors from several countries, including highly fruitful contacts with the IFOAM, have also helped us to evaluate our place in the organic world.
Although the cool climate puts Iceland at a certain disadvantage as far as crop production is concerned it benefits organic husbandry from the point of view that there are fewer animal and plant diseases and those present are generally less severe than in most others countries.
Isolation, sparse population and low levels of polluting industrial activity have indeed contributed beneficially to this situation.
Thus the use of drugs and agrochemicals is at low levels in conventional agriculture and pollution of soil, air, water and agricultural products, of both plant and animal origin, is minimal.
Thus levels of contaminants, for example of cadmium, are negligible It should also be emphasised that livestock production is to a large extent based on free-range grassland utilisation and is characterised by locally adapted native breeds in which a high degree of genetic diversity is maintained.
Last, but not least, looking at the positive side, it is important to keep in mind that the level of education amongst farmers is generally high and, moreover, agricultural research, teaching and advisory services are based on a strong tradition.
Restrictions It is abundantly clear that during the latter half of the 20th century agricultural production in Iceland has depended heavily on the use of artificial fertilisers for cultivated land, mainly on grass for hay and silage making and for some arable crops, as indicated above.
Little attention has been paid to organic fertilisers during this period. The dependence on artificial fertilisers and lack of sufficient quantities of organic fertilisers are by far the most difficult obstacles to a large-scale conversion to organic farming in Iceland 12, More precisely, the main bottleneck is the supply 44 of N.
This situation is aggravated by difficulties in growing nitrogen fixing legumes, such as white clover in hay fields, mainly due to the cool climate.
Shortage of P is likely to be a limiting factor on certain soils, for example, on peat bogs in WestIceland, while the K content is probably sufficient in most cases.
Consequently, a greater input of organic fertilisers is required, for example, in order to produce enough certified organic hay and silage for winter feeding of livestock undergoing organic conversion.
Provision of shelter, particularly for arable crops, would improve growing conditions considerably, especially on the exposed lowlands in SouthIceland.
Thus the growing of shelter-belts should be included in organic conversion plans and on farms where soil erosion problems exist special revegetation efforts would be needed to fulfil requirements of sustainability Crop production While the rangeland pastures, which are mainly utilised for sheep and horses, should be looked upon as sustainable resources without any external input of fertilisers, the relatively small area of cultivated land requires fertilisation if acceptable yields are to be obtained as pointed out above.
Grass for conservation as hay and increasingly as roller - bale silage, is the main crop, and these fields which are seldom ploughed up are also to a certain extent utilised for grazing, especially for cattle.
The hay-fields are supplemented by arable crops such as spring sown Italian ryegrass, rape, oats, barley and fodder turnips.
The most important vegetables grown outdoors are potatoes, carrots, turnips, cabbages and cauliflower as well as herbs and rhubarb while the most prominent glasshouse crops are cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and a wide range of flowers.
Most of these crops are already grown organically on a small scale and the products have been well received by the market. A review of the scientific literature in Iceland shows clearly that throughout this century much research has been devoted to the use of farmyard manure, fish meal, seaweed meal and the growing of various legumes 23,24,25,26,27,28,29, Much of the early work carried out before the use of artificial fertilisers became widespread is certainly relevant today since the results may be applied in organic growing.
At present much emphasis is placed on legume research ranging from indigenous white clover to imported red clover and lupines.
This work was highlighted at a symposium held at the Agricultural Research Institute in April Amongst recent projects on sources of organic fertilisers are the use of fish offal 31 , composting of urban waste 32,33 and the use of mushroom compost in glasshouse production Attention has also been paid to possibilities of processing slaughterhouse waste into organic fertilisers Ideally the supply of organic fertilisers should be increased substantially so as to replace artificial fertilisers on a large scale and it would be a major breakthrough if persistent and high yielding nitrogen fixing legumes could be grown in hay-fields and introduced into rotations with grasses, root-crops and cereals.
Linked with the growing of trees in shelterbelts, mainly birch and willow species, the conditions for organic farming would improve substantially.
It should be noted that there are ample sources of calcium from sea-shells and seaweed is plentiful in Iceland whereas no phosphate rock is found in the country.
The application of biological control of pests in glasshouses, now widely practiced in Iceland, clearly fits well into organic horticulture Animal production The development of certified organic livestock production is lagging somewhat behind that of crop production as in other countries but there are signs of progress, 45 particularly as far as sheep are concerned 36,37, So far the only certified livestock products are lamb, beef, milk and eggs, all on a small scale.
Other products may be certified in the near future such as arctic char, eider-down and horse meat.
As a consequence of the shortage of plant nutrients in an organic form the main problem facing conversion of livestock enterprises is lack of sufficient certified organic hay and silage for winterfeeding of cattle, sheep and horses Furthermore, poultry and pig production in particular face severe restrictions due to the small amount of certified organic grain available in the country.
Compounding of livestock rations will on the other hand not be limited by protein availability as fishmeal, mainly processed from filleting offal and fish not fit for human consumption, is an excellent source of certified organic protein supplement Fields in conversion and certified organic fields tend to give lower yields of hay and silage and in some cases with lower nutritive value than conventional fields, especially during the first few years after conversion starts However, long-term experiments indicate promising results in organically grown hay-fields where sheep-dung is applied 40 but it is clear that a conversion period of at least years is needed in the cool Icelandic climate 40, On some farms the supplies of hay and silage certified to organic standards may be increased by the utilisation of natural meadows where sedges dominate Carex species.
As a matter of fact, most of the hay fed to Icelandic sheep and horses until years ago was harvested from such meadows without the use of any fertilisers.
Meadows were commonly warped with water containing sediment from rivers and streams 42,43, Although yields and nutritive value of meadow hay are generally lower than of hay from cultivated fields 42,45 palatability and intakes are normally satisfactory.
Since most of the meadows are on wetlands some specialised machinery may be needed to make their utilisation practical again and I believe this should be looked into.
Grazing on natural rangelands as practiced in Iceland is in most cases in good harmony with organic husbandry.
Excellent growth rates of lambs and foals are achieved and parasite infection is not a problem under such extensive conditions 46, Grazing on intensively grazed cultivated land would, however, require careful planning in an organic farming system Seaweed wrack foraging of sheep and horses can supplement organic fodder in winter on several coastal farms It is clear that organic conversion will require some modifications in health control, veterinary treatment and in housing facilities, especially in cattle, pig and poultry units.
Rural development The decline of the rural population is viewed with great concern in Iceland and this development is directly linked with a substantial reduction in sheep numbers and production since the late s It is vitally important to seek ways and means of providing stable employment based on local resources and I am one of those who share the view that conversion to organic farming is a step in that direction.
This would be in harmony with the official policy of quality control in all branches of agriculture and may place farm produce in a stronger marketing position The public image of organics is certainly favourable and the market is expanding.
The environmental benefits of organic agriculture are obvious and the conversion process can, for example, be linked with green tourism, farm holiday services, eco-village development, permaculture, forestry and soil conservation 22, Ideally the processing of organic farm produce should take place locally.
Thus in my opinion the official policy of reducing substantially the number of slaughterhouses and dairies should be reviewed with this in mind.
As organic agriculture is in its infancy in 46 Iceland with few and scattered producers better organisation of processing and marketing is urgently needed.
Conclusions Sustainable development is on the agenda of the Government of Iceland. Moreover, organic farming is normally looked upon as sustainable agriculture in practice 51,52, Thus I consider it logical to support the view that an organic grant scheme should be established comparable to such schemes in the other Nordic countries.
Some support is already available but a greater effort is needed to stimulate the conversion process. Furthermore, greater attention should be paid to the potential of organic agriculture under Icelandic conditions.
I consider conversion to organic farming practices in all parts of Iceland a great challenge to the scientific community as viable biological and technical solutions need to be sought to solve certain problems discussed above.
These may lead to some modifications in existing farming systems, for example, in sheep production We know that conversion of cultivated land to organic standards takes a long time due to the cool climate, some soil types may not be suitable for organic growing and it is abundantly clear that the supply of organic plant nutrients must be increased substantially.
At least some of the experimental results already available, for example, on the utilisation of farmyard manure and the growing of legumes, may be applied at farm level and also used in the planning of new research projects on organic farming.