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European information system for organic markets

This project aims to develop a framework for statistics on organic food production, trade and consumption to meet market analysis needs, and the need of regulators and policy-makers to monitor this rapidly growing sector, including traceability issues and sustainability indicators. These aims will be achieved by reviewing existing data collection systems, producing a database and website, developing quality standards, coordinating and evaluating case studies in key countries, and making recommendations for the establishment and resourcing of a European Information System for Organic Markets. The project will cooperate closely with regional, national and European statistical offices, as well as market partners at all levels.

The aim of EISFOM is to develop a network for reporting valid and reliable data on organic food production, trade and consumption in the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and Central and Eastern European (CEE) states, to meet the needs of policy makers, farmers, processors, wholesalers and other actors involved in organic markets. It aims to combine results from EU research projects (FAIR3-1996-1794 OFCAP, QLK5-2000-01124 OMIaRD and QLK5-2000-01112 CONVERSION), commercial market analyses and Eurostat 2092/91 data collection, and to support improved data quality, standardisation and detail on specific commodities.
The specific objectives are:
1) to review and evaluate current data collection and processing systems for organic and conventional markets and their potential for integration
2) to develop proposals for harmonising existing data collection and processing, and provide tools for the development of new data collection systems
3) to coordinate and evaluate pilot data collection and processing systems
4) to stimulate further development of data collection and processing by integrating with national and international statistical affairs offices and preparing a framework for the development of a European database for organic markets
5) to provide relevant recommendations to the EU in order to better coordinate and support data collection on organic production, processing and imports as well as prices
6) to establish a database and website concerning data collection and processing systems for organic markets.

Progress to Date
In the first reporting period, the focus was on reviewing existing systems of data collection and processing for organic as well as conventional markets in order to understand their characteristics and identify opportunities for development and improvement. This was done by means of a two-stage survey of key statistical agencies and other institutions.
This work was completed in the early part of the second reporting period, with an overview report and 32 individual country reports available on the EISfOM website. The analysis revealed a heterogeneous picture across Europe: some countries have well developed statistical systems for organic farming; others, particularly those with newly emerging organic sectors, have very little. The main area where data collection is better developed is production, and to a lesser extent livestock numbers, which is linked to certification activities and the implementation of EC Reg. 2092/91. Other areas, particularly consumption, trade and other market data, are much less well developed and are predominantly based on the private sector, either sponsored by organic producer organisations or commercial market information agencies. Even where statistical data is collected, the degree of international harmonisation is limited, so that cross country comparisons are not always possible.


Scientist responsible for the project

Institute of Rural Studies, University of Wales Aberystwyth, Llanbadarn Campus
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 1970 6221603
Fax: +44 1970 622238


Project ID QLRT-2001-02400
Organisation University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Area 5.1.1
Start date 02 January 2003
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 905 121 €
Total EC contribution   759 301 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project

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