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OrganicDataNetwork: Workshop at the Organic World Congress in Istanbul and final project meeting

During the 18th IFOAM Organic World Congress, the OrganicDataNetwork workshop and several presentations on project results were held. The sixth and final project meeting of the 3-year EU-funded project OrganicDataNetwork took place in mid-October in Istanbul, directly after the congress. Intensive discussions on data quality, data collection methods and related issues characterized the one-and-a-half-day meeting. Now the last project reports are being written, and the manual on how to collect data on organic agriculture and organic markets will soon be published.

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During the Organic World Congress in Istanbul, a specific workshop on “Organic market data collection and publication procedures: the Code of Practice of the OrganicDataNetwork” took place. The aim of the workshop was to present the Code of Practice for the initiation and maintenance of good organic market data collection and publication procedures (OrMaCode). The Code of Practice consists of a list of principles and related indicators covering the different key areas of collection, processing, storage and publication of organic market data.

Raffaele Zanoli emphasised the importance of continuing the network and the collaboration created beyond the OrganicDataNetwork project. The future of data collection helps to close data gaps, harmonize data collection methods, improve existing collection efforts in selected areas, apply appropriate quality checks to all data collected, harmonize data classifications and data collection operations and to facilitate the continuing exchange of experiences among data collectors.

Complementing the OrMaCode, a practical Manual has been produced that contains specific guidelines for applying the OrMaCode. It also contains guidelines for the collection of relevant sets of data and how to ensure that quality criteria specified in the Code of Practice will be met.

Helga Willer from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL, Switzerland) and Diana Schaack from the Agricultural Market Information Company (AMI, Germany) showed the latest figures on the development of organic agriculture and the market. Willer explained the classifications used by the European project and showed that there is still a major lack of data in different sectors and countries. Whereas the total organic agricultural land is available for all countries surveyed (39 in total), not all countries have a total value for their retail sales, and far fewer have details about the value of products sold. Missing in the vast majority of the countries are the production value by product, the total imports and exports as well as the imports and exports by product. So the picture Willer and Schaack were able to deliver still has many gaps. This is a difficult situation, because the organic area and the market are growing considerably in most countries.

Susanne Padel from the Organic Research Centre (ORC, UK) presented the results of six case studies carried out within the OrganicDataNetwork project covering Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic, UK and the Mediterranean region. The goal was to test and improve data collection procedures and improve existing market reports in these countries and regions. Project partners and stakeholders depicted how the case studies contributed to overcoming the current dispersion and fragmentation of data sources. Many different organisations are involved in data collection. Collaboration and data sharing are likely to increase quality and prevent over-sampling of organic operators. At national level, there is the need for coherent and durable arrangements/platforms, since exchanging ideas and sharing experiences across borders can improve the data collection system and data quality.

In Denmark, Austria and Switzerland, which show the most remarkable development, the organic sector has reached in the meantime 6 percent or more of the total food market. As stressed by Raffaele Zanoli (UPM, Italy), the coordinator of the OrganicDataNetwork project: “For the further development of the sector, more and more reliable data are urgently needed. Transparency and reliability are most important to give companies, farmers, regional and national governments and the EU the necessary foundation to further develop the sector. Not only is this in the interest of consumers who want to buy more organics, it also helps to preserve nature and biodiversity, because organic agriculture is the most sustainable of all agricultural methods.

The OrMaCode and the Manual with all recommendations, together with the enhanced database produced throughout the project, are the core outcomes of our OrganicDataNetwork project and will be published by the end of December. They will be accessible on the project website at www.organicdatanetwork.net.  

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OrganicDataNetwork videos

Three videos have been produced within the OrganicDataNetwork project by Thomas Alföldi, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland. They describe what the intention of the project was and its main achievements, the data collection experiences in six case-study countries and how data collection can be improved.
Link to the videos: http://www.organicdatanetwork.net/odn-videos.html#c11898

About the OrganicDataNetwork

The OrganicDataNetwork project has received funding under grant agreement number 289376. The contents of this press release are the sole responsibility of the publishers, and they do not represent the views of the European Commission or its services. The Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Raffaele Zanoli
Università Politecnica delle Marche
Via Brecce Bianche
60131 Ancona
Italy
Tel. +39 071 2204929
zanoli@no-spam.agrecon.univpm.it
www.univpm.it

OrganicDataNetwork: Key facts

Data network for better European organic market information (OrganicDataNetwork)

Funding: 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Union
Cordis.lu:Entry in the Cordis Database
Project call identifier:
FP7-KBBE-2011-5
Project number: 289376
Duration: 2012-2014
Project leader: Prof. Dr. Raffaele Zanoli, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
URLwww.organicdatanetwork.net