Definition of Organic Agriculture
Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people.
It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use
of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit
the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.
Effective contol in Denmark and the EU
Effective control of the organic production has given Danish organic products a high degree of credibility
Denmark has a long tradition of organic farming, and over the years organic food production has attracted great attention from politicians, authorities and organizations. The area that was cultivated by organic farms in Denmark in 2009 amounted to approx. 170.000 ha, which means that almost 7% of Denmark’s total area is cultivated organically. The dairy sector is the largest organic sector in Denmark. In 2007, the dairies produced 164 million kg organic milk for consumption, 2 million kg organic butter and 3 million kg organic cheese. Organic raw milk today equals about 10% of the total milk production in Denmark.
Trade in organic foods is widespread in Denmark, and the products are sold mainly through ordinary places of purchase such as supermarkets, but also market sales, subscription sales, internet sales and farm outlets are common. Today, all Danish supermarkets offer a great variety of organic products. Thus, Danish consumers do not need to visit speciality stores or farm-shops for buying organic products- they can find it all in their local supermarket.
In recent years, Danes have become mass-consumers of organic products. No other country sells more organic products per capita than Denmark. In this way, the overall sales of organic products have increased by over 80 per cent since 2003. In Denmark, when a product is labeled with the Red Ø-mark, the European Organic mark or both you can be absolutely certain that it is what it says: organic in every way possible due to a long tradition for effective control and associated credibility.
Organics in new varieties
The heavy consumerism of organic products has encouraged producers to create new organic product ranges, such as organic ice cream or organically raised fish. In recent years, as much as 52 per cent new organic products have found their way to retail shelves. The growing trend towards organic products has also reached a range of Danish companies; they provide organic dishes for their employees. But also public authorities in Denmark support the organic sector by their "green purchase policy" which ensures that organic food is served in retirement homes, schools and other institutions such as nurseries and borstals.
Starting in 1987, Denmark was the first country in the world to establish governmental rules for organic production and an efficient state-control of organic foodstuffs and producers. The Danish organic controls cover the whole production chain from organic cultivation in the fields and cowsheds to the organic products displayed in the shops. Producers who fulfill the strict criteria can sport the well-respected Red Ø-mark on their products. At the same time, the interest in organic production increased at the European Union level, resulting in rules from 1991 on organic production of vegetable foods. The work for common EU rules cumulated with the adoption of rules on animal production, which were put into force in the summer of 2000.
Denmark has always been very active during the entire process to influence the rules and The Danish government continues to aim at a green transition of Danish agriculture. Therefore, the Minister of Agriculture has launched an Action Plan that will pave the way to doubling the Danish organic area by 2020. Overall the new Action Plan includes various initiatives aimed at farmers, processing and retail sector and consumers.
For more information on Danish organic production, legislation and controls – please see the English website from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark: http://en.fvm.dk/organic_production_and_consumption.aspx?ID=36896
For further information on organics in Denmark – please visit: http://www.organicdenmark.dk/uk/home.aspx