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Biological Production

Significant progress in Germany and Sweden

by François Chalifour

From now until the year 2000, biological production could reach 10% to 20% of the total agricultural production in Sweden and Germany respectively.

Following a dynamic campaign, "The 10% Campaign", the Swiss biological agricultural movement, supported by the biological commercial sector and other interested community groups, have finally obtained help from the Swiss Government that would envision a 10% conversion of Swedish agriculture to biological agriculture. Biological agriculture in Sweden represents about 2% of agricultural production.

Furthermore, the Swiss Government agreed to give $370,000, that adds to the $920,000 already foreseen for the year and destined for the development of the biological market and for biological agriculture information. Biological producers receive $37.00 for each hectare cultivated and a substantial raise in aid to producers is foreseen in the coming years. The development of the market is already in progress and the demand exceeds the supply: there is a shortage of biological food. A recent Swedish study revealed that more than 80% of all food markets sell biological products certified by the K.R.A.V., the Swedish biological certification organization. The Swiedish biological market is currently expanding: the Swedish Federation of Farmers, that represent a majority of farmers in the country, recently confirmed that soon biological products would occupy 15% of the food market. The Swiss Agricultural Minister, Karl Erik Ollson, repeated at several occasions that biological agriculture occupies a choice position in the Swedish strategy of agricultural development in Germany.

Since a number of years, the German biological agricultural development has been constant and well supported through solid political encouragement for production. Today, biological agriculture in Germany occupies 3.5% of the total in the country, with 13,200 biological farms located on 436,000 hectares. In the province of Hesson alone, almost 10% of producers are biological. A good proportion of producers receive direct aid through a conversion program. On average they receive $294 per hectare cultivated, per year. Germany has the most rapid rate of conversion in all of Europe. The establishment of solid political and economical structures for the implementation of the Agri-environment program in Germany, actively contributed to biological agricultural development.

With the way things are going, it would not be surprising to see 20% of agricultural territory in Germany convert to biological agriculture within the next six years, according to the German Agricultural Observers.

Reprinted from Bio-Bulle, August-September 1994

Copyright © 1994 REAP Canada

Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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