While the society demands more organic products the public support for research and development of organic production is declining.
The market for organic products is strong and growing steadily both in Sweden, Denmark and globally. Funding for research to develop organic agriculture has in Denmark declined substantially over the past ten years. To receive the consumers’ confidence it requires that the development of organic agriculture is based on research. Organic farming helps to achieve important societal goals, such as competitive enterprises, sustainable management of natural resources and food for health and wellness.
In Sweden, there have been targeted calls for research on organic production and consumption for more than a decade. There have been research grants from the research council Formas, SLU Ekoforsk, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and from Ekhaga Foundation. In Sweden, this funding has decreased slightly in recent years.
Research challenges, interactions and benefits
One of missions of EPOK is to coordinate and initiate research in organic agriculture. This year focuses EPOK on developing a new research agenda. Right now EPOK communicates with a number of stakeholders in agriculture and in the food chain in order to obtain input on knowledge and research needs. In autumn 2012, the research program will be sent out for consultation, and in November it is planned to be ready. It is important to strengthen cross-border cooperation within the ecological food chain research and the agenda is meant to connect to other Nordic and international research programs and initiatives.
The new research agenda also links to the Framework Programme for Research earlier developed by the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, the latest from 2010.
Also, in Denmark there is a process to revise the strategy for research, development and demonstration, see www.icrofs.dk