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Further development of organic farming policy in Europe, with particular emphasis on European Union enlargerment

The project will identify how the complementary development of organic farming (OF) in both the original EU-15 countries and Switzerland, and in some of the new Member States and Candidate Countries can be fostered through policy design and innovation.
Addressing the issue of complementarity requires a detailed knowledge of present conditions at both production and policy levels. At the production level, it is necessary to gather data on the structure and development of the OF sector. At the policy level, it is necessary to know the existing policy measures and their impacts on that structure in order to identify policy instruments that are successful or have the desired impacts. Having decided what is successful and, from a scientific perspective, desirable, one must be concerned with the political acceptability of OF relevant policy instruments and the opportunities available for reform of these instruments. The main outcome of the project for policy makers will be an evaluation as to whether the conditions for the establishment and effective operation of the necessary political institutions charged with elaborating OFP exist, and which way they can be further developed in a complementary way. To prepare such a policy recommendation, lessons learnt from the EU experience with elaborating and coordinating OF related aspects of Agenda 2000 need to be assessed, and a more detailed picture of the dynamics of OF development in CEE states is required.
The project will cover all original EU-15 Member States, Switzerland, some new Member States (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia) and some Candidate Countries (Bulgaria and Romania). Detailed research efforts will be concentrated on the following selected countries: Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia.

The OFP activities, both in EU-15 and CEE States, will be analysed in detail recognising the two very different points from which these areas have started with organic farming, and the very different conditions under which their agricultural sectors operate.
The overall goal of defining parameters to guide the further development of European OFP can be divided into the following objectives:
1) evaluate the overall impact of implementing organic policy measures on OF in the original EU-15 states and Switzerland
2) evaluate the regional/spatial impact of existing and potential OF relevant policies on farm structures and the pattern of production in the original EU-15 states and Switzerland
3) describe the development of OF and analyse its relationship to the policy and regulatory environment in some of the new Member States and some Candidate Countries
4) analyse the extent of development and implementation of regulations for organic farming as well as the domestic and export markets for organic products in some of the new Member States and some Candidate Countries
5) model and analyse the farm level economic impacts of OFP and Agenda 2000 implementation as well as the EU enlargement in selected European countries
6) analyse the capacity of relevant policy networks to establish and operate an 'OF Action Plan' process and the acceptance by policy actors of 'successful' or 'potentially successful' OFP instruments
7) involve CEE, EU and EU Commission and national policymakers in identifying the parameters that could guide the further development of European OFP post EU-expansion in the EU-25 states, Switzerland and Candidate Countries in a complementary manner.

Progress to Date
The overall methodology will link economic analysis of national and regional level production and economic change, farm level economic modelling, political analysis of agricultural policy processes and institutions with consultative and planning processes amongst policy makers to discern the dimension of a European OFP post EU eastward enlargement. Each of the four phases utilises a different methodological approach that reflects the relevant stated objectives.

To tie these disciplinary methodologies together, the project will employ an Action Research model as an overall methodology (Reason 2001). This research model has a primary concern with researching with people in the context and to actively reflect on Workpackage results as part of the research process. Ultimately these reflections inform further phases of the research process, thus creating an iterative research approach which integrates the different levels of analysis to the project's aims. This reflection on and integration of results does not happen automatically. Workpackage 7 will be the catalyst for this reflective and integrating function. It will be used to synthesise the results of each individual workpackage and subtask into a multidisciplinary framework. By dedicating time at every project meeting to such a process, it ensures the syntheses of each workpackage's results then become the input to further analysis.


Scientist responsible for the project

5070 Frick
Switzerland - CH

Phone: +41 628657255
Fax: +41 628657273


Project ID QLRT-2001-00917
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 January 2003
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 2 456 980 €
Total EC contribution   2 020 452 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project

The partners

  • UNIVERSITY OF WALES, ABERYSTWYTH, Institute of Rural Studies, United Kingdom (The) - GB
  • UNIVERSITA POLITECNICA DELLE MARCHE, Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Agrarie e Ambientali, Italy - IT
  • BUNDESFORSCHUNGSANSTALT FUER LANDWIRTSCHAFT, Institut für Betriebswirtschaft, Agrarstruktur und ländliche Räume, Germany - DE

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