Article | Last updated: 20/08/2015 | Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Organic farming helps increase food diversity and provides consumers with products in demand.
Higher environmental standards in organic production
Organic production requires particularly high standards regarding environmental concerns and animal welfare. Transferring experience from organic farming to conventional farming can reduce the environmental impact of agriculture in Norway and make it more sustainable.
Ecological farming enhances natural diversity. Organic food is produced without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Combined with crop rotation, this will boost biological diversity. Regarding soil quality and structure, organic farming causes less soil compaction and erosion.
As part of the EEA Agreement the label "organic" is protected by the regulations for organic production and labelling of organic agricultural products,. The EEA acquis requires that Norway maintains a public control system. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is the supervisory authority and has delegated executive control to Debio.
Farmers and companies wishing to produce, process and market organic food must be approved by Debio. All Debio approved farms, the processing, packing and distribution industries as well as importers are subject to frequent inspections.
The market for organic food is still comparatively small, and this causes fluctuations in both production and demand. Every Annual Agricultural Agreement, a tarif agreement between the government and the agricultural sector in Norway, sees the government providing funds earmarked for organic production and measures to develop the value chain.
Devising a new strategy for organic farming
The Government will draw up a strategy for organic farming in order to strengthen the development of organic production and consumption. Following recommendations from the Storting, the Norwegian Parliament, main stakeholders will be consulted during strategy formulation. The aim of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is to make this an inclusive process. The strategy will function as the parliament's agri-political roadmap, and it will be presented to the Storting together with the Proposition for the Annual Agricultural Agreement 2018.
Discussing challenges and bottlenecks
The ministry has established a working group consisting of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Norwegian Agrarian Association, the Norwegian Farmers and Smallholders Union, and Oikos - Organic Norway. The working group has discussed challenges and bottlenecks in value chains for organic production, evaluated production-oriented measures and development programs for organic production and consumption. The working group also makes recommendations on coordinating various parties working with organic production and consumption. On February 20, 2018, the Working Group delivered a memorandum to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food as a contribution to the strategy work.
Soliciting input for strategy work
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food has also invited parties in the organic production and marketing sector to join a reference group. The input from the reference group will be all facts and factors relevant to the strategy effort. Input regarding organization and interaction between the different parties, and the parties' own contributions to implenting the strategy is another important topic. There has also been a hearing session, where a request was made for further material in writing. All input will be considered when preparing the strategy.