EkoConnect – International Centre for Organic Agriculture of Central and Eastern Europe e.V.
1. +++ Country report Ukraine: a lot of arable land, a few farms and large areas +++
Most of the 72 organic farms in the Ukraine running organically in 2005 are large companies with an
average size of production area of 3,361 ha. Altogether some 241,980 ha have been run according to
organic guidelines. By the way of comparison: 2001 some 25 organic farms with 112,500 ha existed.
Smaller organic farms with less than 100 ha are in conversion at the moment. Some of the smaller
farms grow vegetables or special crops like berries. The share of crop land on the total organically
farmed area is 80%.
At the moment only cropping farms have completely converted into organic in Ukraine. The first
organic farms with animal production (dairy cows, fattening pigs and goats) are currently still in the
conversion phase. The most important organic products in Ukraine are grains (soft wheat and durum
wheat, barley, maize, oats, buckwheat, millet), oilseeds (sunflower, rape seed, mustard) essential oils
(lavender, rose, rosemary) and legumes (soybeans, peas, lentils, chickpeas).
First fruit growing farms in western Ukraine have started to work organically. They comprise a
proportion of 0.2% of the entire organic farmland. Some farms, growing strawberries and vegetables,
are still in the conversion period at the moment. In 2006 the first Ukrainian processing companies that
process organic raw materials to organic food will start working. The first products will be different
groats/porridge, pasta, baby food and sunflower oil.
So far, there is almost no internal market for organic products in Ukraine. However, as results of
market surveys from 2005 and 2006 in Ukraine show, potential consumers who would buy organic
products, exist. Therefore it is expected that in future a market for organic products will develop.
Different associations that work for the development of organic products in the Ukraine did start
working within the last five years. There is the “Union of organic farmers”, which is comprised of
members that grow organic crops in their own gardens. In the year 2004, the Ukrainian-Swiss
producer association “Biolan” was founded, supported by the Swiss government. Eventually in the
year 2005, the „Organic Federation of Ukraine“ was founded as an umbrella organisation that aims at
incorporating all organic producers, processors, scientific organisations, research stations and
The organic certification is currently done by foreign certification bodies. The enterprises are certified
according to the EU regulation 2091/92, some also according to the North American standards (NOP).
A big part of the certification is done by the certification body “Control Union” from the Netherlands. A Ukrainian national certification body is currently being installed by the “Organic Federation of Ukraine”
and other main players of the Ukrainian organic markets with support of the SECO (Swiss Secretary
for Economy). This certification body is estimated to start its active work in September 2006.
Governmental support of organic production is almost non existent in Ukraine, because there are no
national laws for organic production yet.
In future the production of organic milk is planned to be subsidized, for example. So far, the labelling
“ecologically clean milk” means that this milk was produced in certain areas, but it does not mean that
this milk was produced according to organic farming standards. However, an Ukrainian national law on
organic farming is in preparation at present. It will be presented to the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada
(Parliament) by the end of 2006.
2. +++ Hungary is producing for export - but the at home market for organic produce is also
Up to 90% of organic produce from Hungary is exported, in the late 1990s it had still been 95%. Four
of the most significant buyer countries are Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Cereal
crop in large units and oil plants (e.g. pressed Sunseed oil) are the most important organic exports. In
2003 – 04 many conventional food producers changed to the production of organic food instead,
motivated by expectations of an easy access to an enlarged European market. The national
Hungarian organic produce market (excluding exports) in 2004 had - according to Tom Vaclavik (from
Greenmarketing) – an annual turnover of 4 Million Euros, which means an increase of 25% to the
The demand for products of higher quality has been on the increase in the last years. Consequently,
the organic food production in Hungary is fast developing. Today more and more food processing
companies (including conventional ones) begin to produce for the local market as well as for export,
many of those use labels of trademarks of big chains for packaging. The best channel of distribution
for organic produce in Hungary are conventional retail stores, which hold 60% of the organic market
share. In second place are 300 specialised health food stores with 35% and in third place are organic
home deliveries, farmers’ markets, and direct farmyard sales with an approx. 5% share in the market.
3. +++ Slovenia: Supermarkets are the big players +++
There are about 20 organic food stores in Slovenia today, most of them located in the capital of
Ljubljana. In 2005 an organic supermarket named ‘Kalcek’ has been established there. It was recently
opened in a shopping mall. The sales space is 250m2 and 95% of all produce are of organic quality.
The range of products is varied: fruit and vegetable, bread and pastry, wine, beer, milk and dairy
produce, special products for a macrobiotic diet and organically produced clothing. Fresh produce is
delivered directly from local farms. Apart from specialist stores, organic products are progressively
more sold in supermarkets as well. Due to their good distribution of locations all over the country they
hold the largest share of the organic market. The number of supermarkets offering organic products in
Slovenia amounts to approx. 300. The largest supermarket chain ‘Mercator’ offers the best range of
organic products and is the only chain to present Slovenian products; based on an individual
cooperation between food processors and farmers. Organic products can also be found in the
drugstore ‘dm’ (Alnatura products made in Germany), at ‘Interspar’ and some other supermarkets.
4. +++ ?eské BIO – The company ‚bio-nebio’ knows to market its local origin +++
With its new marketing project ‘?eské BIO – Czech BIO’ the company ‘bio-nebio s.r.o’ in Zdice,
located about 35 km south-west of Prague, stresses the local origin of its unprocessed products. We
can find a new ?eské BIO on the labels of organic products, made up of the Czech flag and the
slogan: ‘?eské BIO– Czech BIO’. The project includes company products only. To obtain the ‚?eské
BIO’-label they have to fulfil a number of criteria. Among other, to favour the use of raw materials from
Czech production, but at least 30% of the end weight of finished products. Apart from this, the project
guarantees farmers in the Czech Republic a fair price, as they have problems to compete with
cheaper organic produce, for instance from China.
The entire project is financed by the company and thus independent of other subsidies. More
information in Czech language can be obtained from www.bio-nebio.cz. The marketing organisation
‘Geenmarketing’, also based in the Czech Republic, welcomes the project and praised the company’s
initiative. In that way Czech farmers are supported and consumers are able to get clear cut information
on the origin of their foodstuffs. According to Czech law, it is not the country of origin that needs to be
declared on the product, but only the country in which the product has been packaged. (Source:
„Bioobchod“ September 2006)
5. +++ The market for organic products in Poland is now emerging – new market research
study published +++
The Polish market for organic food, with a currently estimated value of 50 Million Euro per year, is
expected to grow up to 500 Million Euro over the next decade. This is based on a recently published
study of a company called ‘Sixty Two’. According to it, 7% of all Polish consumers prefer to buy
organic products already today. An additional 38% simply believe that they purchase organic produce,
but in reality this is only ‘close-to-organic’, i.e. does not possess an organic certificate and is not
produced according to organic standards. The area of agricultural land cultivated organically has
doubled in Poland. However, its share of the total of agricultural land is still rather small, but on the
increase. According to the authors of the market research study, low income and relatively high
productivity in organic farming give Polish companies a good chance to compete on the European
organic market; all the more so, because since Poland’s EU membership, the Polish organic
standards are in accordance with EU regulations. They consider the Polish market for organic
foodstuffs as very underdeveloped still. What is lacking mostly, are processing enterprises and an
efficient wholesale and supply infrastructure. The market study concludes that Poland offers excellent
investment opportunities for companies in the organic trade sector. The study explains these
investment opportunities based on consumer and market research and on an analysis of the Polish
organic-value-added chain: beginning with the organic farmer all the way to the retailer. Further
EkoConnect e.V. is organising the 2nd ‘Organic Marketing Forum’ on the topic of Marketing and
Processing of organic products in Central and Eastern Europe in Warsaw on May 14 – 15, 2007.
Further information from http://ekoconnect.de/warschau.html
6. +++ Curdled milk product wins title “Czech organic product of the year” +++
In the course of the yearly “Czech Organic Month September” several products were awarded. The
foundation “Nadace Partnerství” and the association Pro-Bio awarded the first prize to a curdled milk
product of the creamery “Mlékárny Valašské Mezi?í?í” that appeared only recently on the Czech
organic market. The producer received a cheque for 20.000 koruny (about 780 €). Apart from the
curdled milk product that won the first prize for its flavour, its good availability in all parts of the country
(it is sold by supermarkets as well as organic food shops), and its practical wrapping (carton), the
following products were awarded as well: organic eggs of two different producers, a desert that has to
be mixed (consisting of buckwheat) and a mix of bulgur wheat groats with red lentils to be cooked.
As only a small number of Czech producers have been engaged in the field of organic food production
so far, a large part of the eco-products sold in the Czech Republic are imported from abroad. Tomáš
R?ži?ka of “Nadace Partnerství” points out: “For this reason, we try to support and highlight Czech
eco-products of a high quality by awarding prizes to them. By doing so, we aim at inspiring other
producers to produce organic products.” Moreover, the title “organic product of the year” can help the
producers to promote and sell their products.
7. +++ Combat rats and mice in the stocks +++
In autumn, rats and mice retreat to sheltered places. They cause considerable financial damage by
feeding, inducement of decay and contamination of the stocks with faeces, urine and hairs. Not least
they can transmit diseases such as swine fever, tuberculosis and hepatitis. Therefore, mice and rats should not be tolerated on the farm. Organic farmers equally need to combat these vermins and are allowed to do so following the organic guidelines:
§ Secure buildings as tightly as possible and repair defects: use e.g. window grills to block all
possible ways inside. Mesh size must be no larger than 2cm to keep rats out and no larger than
0.5cm for mice.
§ Please note: rats also enter buildings through canalization, outfalls or toilets. Foodstuff and
tampons do not belong into the toilet. They attract the odour-sensitive rats which can smell blood,
for instance, over far distances.
§ Remove shelter and nesting opportunities inside the buildings.
§ Never leave food items behind.
§ Check your own stocks and newly purchased goods.
§ A farm cat provides valuable service.
§ Do not leave junk and waste lie around the building.
§ Keep buildings, feed stocks, feeding places etc. clean.
§ Waste containers should be positioned far away from the stocks.
§ Only vegetable left-overs go on to the compost pile.
Use of traps
Spring traps are best against rats and mice. Life traps do not work with rats. The smart animals warn
newcomers. With mice, experiences are varied. New traps should be left for a few days in compost and only be touched with rubber gloves. Otherwise, the animals will perceive the human odour.
Rats use specific trails that you can recognize by their droppings. Put the trap at a protected place on the trail and cover it with a board or wooden box – the animals are cautious. Dry bread is good for baiting. In addition, rats love all kinds of protein-rich foods, e.g. a liverwurst sandwich. If the trails are unknown, you will first have to bait feed them. Then position trap where they accepted the bait. Traps must be checked daily and dead animals be removed. Otherwise the trap will loose function due to the odour. If this happens, put it back into compost and then use it at another place.
Use of rodenticides
On cultured land, outdoors and in green houses, rodenticides are prohibited by the EU regulation on
organic farming. However, these agents can be utilized as a “hygienic measure” in the stocks and in
buildings away from the actual cultivation area. Justification: The application serves the protection of
human rather than plant health. Rodenticides are divided into anticoagulants and non-anticoagulants.
§ Anticoagulants (like the natural poison coumarin) cause inner and outer bleeding and the animals
die of cardiovascular collapse. The effect is time-delayed so that no connection between death
and bait is obvious to the surviving rats, thus keeping the bait attractive. In case of intoxication,
vitamin K1 is the right antidote. Anticoagulants of the 1st generation have to be ingested for
several days. Resistances have been reported. As for anticoagulants of the 2nd generation
(modern agents) one dose is enough.
§ Non-anticoagulants (acute baits) work considerably faster. Death occurs after some hours. The
risk for man and other animals is much higher. Bait shyness is a more frequent problem. All types
are commercially available as loose baits.
Please note that all these agents are highly toxic to man and animals. All baits must be offered in bait
boxes (not openly). The farmer is responsible.
Ask your certifying body for licensed products before you start. Their names may vary in different
Mice can successfully be controlled with rodenticides. With the intelligent rats, however, this is a more
difficult task. They first send a “taster”: If she dies, they will not accept the bait. If you do not succeed
with rat control, ask an experienced exterminator for help.
(Source: Ulrike Fischbach, Beratungsdienst Ökolandbau, LLK Wetzlar, in bioland Magazin 9/06)
8. +++ New results of the EU-project EISfOM published +++
The EU-project EISfOM has recently published recommendations on how to optimize the collection
and the editing of market data concerning ecological farming. The recommendations are addressed to
scientists and comprise above all the collection of data and the processing of products, prices and
crops (WAS IST EINE VERBRAUCHSMENGE?). EISfOM is the abbreviation of “European Information
System for Organic Markets”.
For further information consult www.eisfom.org/index.html.
Concerning the background: In October 2004, the council of the ministers of agriculture authorised the
European Commission to put the EU-eco-action plan into practice, a concept that comprises 21
concrete measures. Among those are the intensive educational advertising on organic agriculture, the
grouping of the measures for the promotion and development of the rural regions, the improvement of
the standards of production, the promotion of research and quite naturally the improvement of the
transparency of the market and the collection of market data as well.
9. +++ CORE Organic: International advertisement of research subjects +++
The eleven partners of the EU project “Core Organic” have recently published the first international
advertisement of research subjects on organic agriculture. Suggestions for projects can be handed in
until 1/12/2006. For further information consult: www.coreorganic.org
10. +++ Animal health across borders - SAFO final conference +++
SAFO stands for Sustaining Animal Health and Food Safety in Organic Farming. The EU-financed
project runs for several years in the EU-Countries. During the last four years, five workshops took
place within this project. This summer, people from 23 countries came together for a final workshop
with intensive discussions in Denmark. Since a couple of years, animal health in organic farming is
discussed intensively. Especially when it became obvious that there are big deficiencies in this sector.
Deficiencies in animal health are not only relevant for animal safety but they are also a big risk for the
market of organic animal products. Negative reports in the media and disappointed expectations in
quality might disturb the trust of consumers in organic animal products.
The SAFO project described different possibilities how to improve animal health. One possibility is the
so called ‘Health Plan’ which is practised in Great Britain. There, every organic farm with animal
husbandry has to provide a handbook with a health plan. In this handbook, the most important working
steps are listed. But more important is that all the measures are described which are taken when
animal health decreased. This health plan has to be shown when the farm gets controlled.
The health plan helps the farmers and advisors when diseases appear. Although at first, the health
plan increases the work load, in the long term it may lead to a more efficient work on the farm.
More Information: www.safonetwork.org
11. +++ Students cooperate on European Level - 2nd International Summeracademy on organic
animal husbandry in Dresden-Pillnitz +++
From 3rd to 8th September, 29 agricultural students from Central and Eastern Europe learnt more
about theory and practice of organic animal husbandry in Dresden-Pillnitz. The workshop was
organised by EkoConnect e.V. together with the Institute for organic farming at the University of
Applied Sciences (HTW) in Dresden. Partner in the project was also the Agricultural University of
Poznan. Besides animal husbandry and breeding of pigs, cows and poultry, possibilities on how to
expand organic farming in Europe were discussed.
For the students from Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech
Republic and Belarus one thing was clear: It is very important that there is a sustainable development
within a stable organic sector in agriculture in the own country compared to competitiveness with the
neighbour countries. Here, an international cooperation is very important. For this, networking between
young and motivated organic farmers, advisors and teachers might be very helpful to build up a
European network. The Summeracademy for organic animal husbandry was an example and an
important piece in this puzzle. For more information, pictures and a report see:
12. +++ New online magazine for the organic market in Europe +++
“Strong growth planned at organic chain stores in Germany”, a report on organic food shops in
Slovenia or “Coop as a market leader in Sweden”, these are some of the topics of a new online
magazine covering the organic market in Europe. Organic-Market.Info got started 1st of February this
year. It attracts more and more readers from 92 different countries from all over the world.
The team at Organic-Market.Info are dedicated people, working to improve the quality and flow of
information about the organic food chain. For three years they have gained experience in running the
German version, Bio-Markt.Info, where they now have over 10.000 visits a month, with a growing
tendency. A survey at Organic-Market.Info attested that the readers are mainly interested in reading
news in brief, reports about the organic market in foreign countries and background reports. Most of
them want to be informed by e-mail once a week.
Organic-Market.Info publishes on a daily basis one cost free news-in-brief from Monday to Friday and
two detailed reports a week for subscribers. In the last weeks, country reports about all European
countries were published, so all Europe is completely covered.
People interested in subscribing have the opportunity via EkoConnect to use www.organic-market.info
for free for 2 weeks, starting with the date of publishing this newsletter. Login: test, password: organic.
Who likes to continue may subscribe. For Central and Eastern European countries and Russia there is
a reduction of 50 % and more. The rate is 49 Euro for companies and 30 Euros for individuals (one
EkoConnect – International Centre for Organic
Agriculture of Central and Eastern Europe e.V.
Phone: +49 (0) 351-20 66 172
Fax: +49 (0) 351-20 66 174