Organic Research and Development in Denmark (1996-2010) – Effects on the Organic Sector and Society

Lise Andreasen, Ilse Ankjær Rasmussen, Niels Halberg

Abstract


The ICROFS (International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems) has conducted an analysis of the effects of organic research in Denmark (1996-2010) on the Danish organic sector and on society in general. Over these 15 years, three national programs and one program with European collaboration have been implemented in Denmark, financed via special government grants that amounted to just over 500 million DKK (approx. € 67 million—or approximately $ 80 million). The analysis itself was carried out as a compilation of information from three perspectives, each of which has been independently documented:

  • Interviews with (representatives of) end-users of results from research and development (R&D) investigating their assessment of the challenges in the sector and solutions developed from 1996-2010
  • Assessment of the R&D endeavours in different thematic areas (dairy/milk, pigs, crops, etc.) as they related to end-users and the stated challenges at that time
  • Documentation of the dissemination of R&D results in relation to themes and challenges in the sector

The results showed very good correspondence between end-users’ perceptions of the challenges overcome in the sector, the R&D initiated in the research programmes, and the dissemination of research results and other forms of knowledge transfer. The analysis documented direct effects of the research initiatives targetting the challenges in the sector such as higher yields, weed and pest control, animal health and welfare, the potential for phasing out the use of antibiotics in Danish dairy herds and reducing the problems caused by seedborne diseases. It also describes where research did not contribute as much to overcoming challenges. In contrast, the analysis showed that the effects of the research in the organic processing industry and among relevant governmental and non-governmental organisations were of a more indirect character. Research has helped stabilize the supply and quality of raw materials at a time of growing demand and sales. Organic research also generates new knowledge and leads to new opportunities that can provide inspiration for a green conversion, product diversification and growth also in conventional agriculture. The analysis showed that research under the national research programs overall have been very applied and directed at the barriers in the sector in order to support the general market and growth conditions for the organic sector. Having laid a solid foundation, the private sector has been able to take advantage of commercial opportunities when demand grew, while adhering to the organic policy objectives of the market-driven growth in the organic sector.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/sar.v4n3p173

Sustainable Agriculture Research   ISSN 1927-050X (Print)   ISSN 1927-0518 (Online)

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