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Country report - Norway

by Gerald Altena, Debio.

This article was originally written for the publication "Organic in Europe", published by the IFOAM EU Group in collaboration with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Switzerland, and the Mediterranean Institute for Agronomic Research CIHEAM-IAM, Bari, Italy. 

Key indicators 2012

  • Organic agricultural area: 55,260 hectares
  • Operators:
    • Organic producers: 2,590
    • Organic processors: 705 (incl. importers)
    • Organic importers: 33
    • Organic exporters: no data
  • Retail: EUR 209 million

Area and operator data: Eurostat and Debio; market data: SLF

History of organic farming

  • 1931: First organic (biodynamic) farm, Nordre Sletner gård, opens
  • 1973: The first organic association for consumers and producers, Norsk Økologisk Landbrukslag, is founded
  • 1986: Debio is established as an organic control body
  • 1994: EU Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 is implemented in Norway as part of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA); at the same time, a conversion grant is launched

Key sector institutions

Production base: land use and key crops

Of the organic agricultural land

  • 80 % (44,000 hectares) consists of arable crops,
  • 18 % permanent grassland and grazing areas (10,124 hectares), and
  • 0.5 % permanent crops (269 hectares).

The main arable crops are

  • green fodder from arable land (34,000 hectares), followed by
  • cereals (8,874) and
  • vegetables (218 hectares).

Market

The market share for organic production is proportionally lower than is the share of the total agricultural area being farmed organically. Most organic products are sold through supermarkets.

  • Top-selling products: Dairy products (EUR 41.4 million, 1.7 % of total sales); potatoes and vegetables (EUR 28.8 million, 2.2 % of total sales); cereals/bakery products (EUR 9.6 million, 0.9 % of total sales); eggs (EUR 14 million, 5.3 % of total sales); fruit and berries (EUR 8.6 million, 0.8 % of total sales); and meat (EUR 7.7 million, 0.3 % of total sales).
  • Market channels: 76 % of organic products are sold through supermarkets and 23 % through other market channels. Direct sales account for 1 %.

Standards, legislation, organic logo

Norway's relations with the European Union are mainly governed by the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). This agreement, which has been in force since 1 January 1994, extends the EU's legislation on the single market to include Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. More information available at: http://www.efta.int/legal-texts/eea
The Debio Ø logo is supported by the authorities; it is used on both national and imported products.

Policy support

Grants are available for organic plant production and organic animal production. Conversion support is being provided until 2014. New support for organic projects can be announced from year to year.

  • Other support: All conventional farmers have access to free advice from the Norwegian Advisory Service (NLR) on how to convert to organic production.

Research & advice

Organic farming research is incorporated into national agricultural research at the state research stations of Bioforsk. The key institution for organic research is Bioforsk Økologisk located at Tingvoll Gård, Tingvoll, www.bioforsk.no
Organic advice is incorporated in the national agricultural advisory services - Norsk Landbruksrådgiving in Ås, www.nlr.no

Challenges & outlook

There is a need to secure ongoing political support for action plans that include measure to support production. At the same time, a balance must also be struck between production and the domestic market.

Further information

For other relevant websites, see the sections on key sector institutions and research & advice.

Contact

Gerald Altena
Debio
Østre Blixrud vei 7
1940 Bjørkelangen
Norway
Tel.: +476 386 2650
gerald.altena@no-spam.debio.no

www.debio.no