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Country report - Lithuania

by Virgilijus Skulskis, Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics (LIAE).

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: 156,539 hectares
  • Operators:
    • Organic producers: 2,527
    • Organic processors: 91
    • Organic importers: no data
    • Organic exporters: no data
  • Retail sales: no data

Area and operator data: Eurostat.

History of organic farming

  • 1987: The beginning of the organic movement in Lithuania
  • 1990: The Lithuanian Association of Organic Agriculture Gaja is established
  • 1991: The country‘s first programme for the transformation to organic farming is approved by the government and implemented by the Tatulos fund in the north of Lithuania
  • 1995: First trade fairs for organic food are organised by the Tatulos programme
  • 1997: The certification body Ekoagros is established
  • 2004: Area-based EU support encourages farmers to convert to organic farming and causes the rapid growth of organic farms, and the expansion of the certified organic area

Key sector institutions

Production base: land use and key crops

Of the total area of 156,539 hectares

  • 68 % consists of arable land,
  • 27 % is grassland, and
  • 3.4 % permanent crops.

The key arable crop groups are

  • cereals (66,923 hectares),
  • protein crops (26,486 hectares),
  • aromatic spices and herbs (6,856 hectares), and
  • oilseeds (5,513 hectares).

The key permanent crops are

  • buckthorn (1,992 hectares),
  • black and red currants (1,853 hectares), and
  • apples (832 hectares).

Market

The Lithuanian market for organic food is growing, and is currently at an intermediate stage of development.

  • Top-selling products: Milk and dairy products, bread and cereal products, and vegetables.
  • Market channels: General retailers, direct sales and other channels.
  • Exports and imports: Data on exports and imports are not publicly available. For export, cereals are the most important product group.

Standards, legislation, organic logo

EU legislation on organic farming and other regulations apply and based on this, national rules on organic farming have been prepared and approved by the Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture.
The EU organic logo, the Euro leaf, is used, as well as the national logo, which was adopted by the Minister of Agriculture in January 2009. Green and white or black and white versions can be used.

Policy support

  • National action plan: There is no national action plan for organic farming and food in Lithuania.
  • Support under the EU rural development programme: Since 2004, direct payments have been granted under a special scheme based on EU legislation.
  • Other policy support: Some measures exist for direct sales, research and consulting.

Research & advice

The main research institutions for organic agriculture are

The main advisory institutions for organic agriculture are

  • the Lithuanian Agricultural Advisory Centre: www.lzukt.lt;
  • the Chamber of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania: www.zur.lt and
  • the Lithuanian Association of Organic Agriculture Gaja.

Challenges & outlook

One of the biggest challenges is the need for advisory and extension services. At the same time, an imbalance also exists between the large quantities of organic grain produced for animal feed, and the small number of animals.

Further information

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

 

 

Contact

Virgilijus Skulskis
Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics (LIAE)
V. Kudirkos Str. 18–2
03105 Vilnius
Lithuania
Tel.: (+370 5) 261 45 25
Fax: (+370 5) 261 45 24
virgilijus.skulskis@no-spam.laei.lt

www.laei.lt