Organic food production

By 2020, 15 per cent of national food production and consumption is to be organic.

Organic farming is a production method that is less environmentally invasive, more sustainable and attuned to natural cycles. The method is based on best environmental practices and is continuously evolving as new knowledge is acquired. 

There exists no clear, common international or European understanding of what the term organic does cover. In Norway, the term "organic" is defined in specific and detailed regulations, which are largely similar to EU regulations. 

Organic farming in Norway works as a spearhead for the developing more sustainable production methods also in conventional agriculture. By sustainability we mean methods that safeguard resources for future generations. 

Strict requirements

In practice organic farming in Norway means even stricter demands on the production chain, in addition to the common regulations for food production.

Animal welfare is essential to organic livestock farming - allowing animals outdoors.
Animal welfare is essential to organic livestock farming - allowing animals outdoors. Credit: Colourbox

In organic farming, food is produced with manure and other organic fertilizers, and without the use of chemical pesticides.

Animal welfare is essential to organic livestock farming - allowing animals outdoors beyond pasture season. Indoor, animals have more space than in conventional farming. Animals eat only organic feed.

Processed organic food is based on organic ingredients, and is characterized by minimal use of additives.

Organic Roeros Sour-Milk. The milk is organically produced on farms in Northern Oesterdal and around the city of Roeros, and processed by the Roeros Dairy Ltd.
Organic Roeros Sour-Milk. The milk is organically produced on farms in Northern Oesterdal and around the city of Roeros, and processed by the Roeros Dairy Ltd. Credit: Matmerk

Protected label

The Organic label is protected by regulations for organic production and labelling of organic agricultural products.

The regulations are part of the EEA Treaty. Through the EEA regulations, Norway is required to have a public control authority. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA)  is the supervisory authority and has delegated executive control to Debio

Only products approved by Debio, or similar foreign authorities, can be labeled as organic in Norway.

Farms and companies that wish to produce, process, and trade organic food must therefore be approved by Debio. Farms, processing plants, packaging plants, distributors and importers who are approved are inspected on a regular basis.

Ø-merket.

Growing markets

The organic food market in Norway has yet to reach maturity, which is reflected in the large annual fluctuations in both production and demand. It is trending in the right direction, but reaching the goal of 15 percent organic food production and consumption by 2020 will be a demanding task.

The Annual Agriculture Tarif Agreement contains provisions for an annual budget to fund the development of organic farming.