EkoConnect – International Centre for Organic Agriculture of Central and Eastern Europe e.V.
1. Country report Estonia: large potential for improvement in processing and marketing
2. LT: High prices hinder further development of organic agriculture
3. PL: Newly founded organic processors and operators association “Polska Ekologia”
4. PL: Higher sales of organic produce in supermarkets
5. CZ: Yearbook on organic farming published
6. RO: LaDorna plans to boost organic dairy exports
7. BG: Tandem invests in organic meat processing
8. UA: FiBL Switzerland supports organic market development
9. RUS: Organic supermarket Grünwald opens in Moscow
10. Revision of the EU organic regulation 2092/91
11. EU/World: Organic farming worldwide - IFOAM International and the IFOAM EU Group
12. 1st IFOAM International Conference on Marketing of Organic and Regional Values
13. Organic Marketing Forum 2007: registration deadline extended
14. Dates and Events
1. +++ Country report Estonia: large potential for improvement in processing and marketing +++
Organic farming is growing rapidly in Estonia. In the northern most of the three Baltic states, about 8%
of all cultivated land is now farmed organically, constituting the largest percentage of organically
farmed area in all of the new EU member states. In 2006, 1,173 organic farms in Estonia accounted for
72,390ha of cultivated areas: approximately 60,000ha grassland, 8,520ha arable land, 240ha potatoes,
and 1,145ha berries and other fruits. Despite the high proportion of pasture, only slightly more than half
of farms keep livestock, mainly cattle and sheep. Cereals (e.g. flakes) and dairy products (yoghurt,
cheese) are the dominating commodities. The dairy and meat sectors are regarded as most promising
in terms of export potential. These products often have to be sold conventionally due to a lack of
processing and trade companies.
Although the production of raw commodities has strongly developed over the last years, organic foods
are, as of yet, hardly available to consumers. The Estonian organic market is still in its early stages.
One reason for the limited poor development of the domestic organic market is the lack of organic final
products. So far, eco-products are mainly sold on-farm and only sometimes delivered to schools,
hospitals, and regional shops. In addition, the internet is being used as an option to sell organic goods.
There are very few organic shops in the country and provide only a small range of products and have
difficult time establishing themselves. All too frequently shops are closed down after only a short time
as a result of the difficult market situation. Some imported eco-products are available in normal
supermarkets, but no separate shelves or “organic” sections are available to aid the consumer in
finding organic products.
In 2004, there were only six organic processors packaging cereals, fruits and vegetables, one
slaughterhouse, one oil mill and two larger on-farm dairies. The number of processors rose to 14 in
2006. Thanks to this positive development in food processing and subsequent growth in the range of
goods, supermarkets are increasingly interested in organic foods. This is also beneficial for the
consumers who gain better access to eco-products. According to the Estonian Institute for Market
Research 54% of consumers prefer supermarkets for their shopping. 25% buy in smaller shops, 15%
on the weekly market, 4% in warehouses, and only 2% on-farm.
In order to market their organic meat more effectively, some organic farmers founded a producers
association. Called Eesti Maheliha, the association negotiates with conventional meat processors and
tries to win them over to take on organic operations.
Saidafarm is an important organic dairy producer. 40 employees on 1000ha produce several types of
cheese, cream, and yoghurt. Orders are taken by phone or email and are delivered to a client base of
over 120 customers, including supermarkets, market stands, small retailers, bakeries, and
kindergartens. Deliveries are made using two company-owned refrigerated trucks. The chairman is
planning to open an organic shop in the most prosperous part of Tallinn – which would require a heavy
dependence on imported goods. (www.saidafarm.ee)
Since 2006, the company Goodkaarma OÜ has been building an organic soap business with the
objectives of creating local employment, supporting organic farming and encouraging other “green”
enterprises in Estonia. The soaps contain more than 95% organic ingredients and are sold via the
Internet, in organic shops, pharmacies, gift shops, spas, and department stores country-wide.
Sahver imports a wide range of eco-products, in addition to trading Estonian organic commodities.
Primary operations include importing foodstuffs such as fruits, vegetables, sweets, sprouts, pasta, and
rice, as well as various drinks to be sold via internet and in smaller shops. The also offer an organic
box scheme. (www.sahver.ee)
The company Looduspere OÜ has been an active importer of organic baby and childrens supplies for
two years. They offer environmentally friendly wooden bicycles, eco-napkins, modelling clay, baby care
products, clothing, and toys. Most products are imported from Germany, England, and Finland. Three
retail shops are complemented by an online shop and delivery to supermarkets. Looduspere has
successfully identified a market niche and their products are in high-demand throughout the country.
Estonian consumers are interested in organic products and value them as particularly healthy,
environmentally friendly options to conventional products that are very low in residues. All of these are
positive indicators for the healthy development of an organic market in Estonia.
(Sources: Estonian Ministry for Agriculture; www.bio-markt.info;
2. +++ LT: High prices hinder further development of organic agriculture +++
In 2005 organically farmed areas in Lithuania accounted for 2.7% of the country’s farm land. Product
marketing will be an important factor that must be considered in order to meet the objective for 5 % of
cultivated areas to be managed organically, as defined in the national rural development plan for 2006.
Because of the long distances between organic farms throughout the country and the limited range of
products, marketing initiatives have been hindered. Organic plant production is mainly focused on
cereals, which comprise 60% of production. Vegetables especially potatoes, carrots, beetroot, cabbage
and onions account for 35%. Recently the supply with organic sheep and goat milk was established as
well as with rabbit meat. In the near future organic aquaculture will also be of some importance.
Products are mainly sold at street markets or in specialised shops. At the moment, there are 108 of
these shops throughout Lithuania. A range of 200 processed organic foods is currently being sold in
Higher prices for organic foods in Lithuania are having a negative impact on the development of a
stable and significant market. This has been verified by research conducted by V.Rutkoviene and
G.Abreityte entitled Organic markets/ consumers in Lithuania (http://orgprints.org/8552/). Surcharges
for organic cereal products amounts to 10-45% of the market price for conventional products, for
apples 27%, for honey 14% and for potatoes up to 100%!
So far Lithuania's role in exporting organic products is very limited. The development of organic
agriculture within the country very much depends on domestic demand. This creates a vicious circle: if
the demand is growing, prices will fall, but the demand is only growing if prices are low and organic
products are found easily in the shelves. (www.orgprints.de)
(Source: ZMP, ÖKOMARKT Forum, Nr. 41, 13. Oktober 2006)
3. +++ PL: Newly founded organic processors and operators association “Polska Ekologia” +++
The association Polska Ekologia was founded in Warsaw in November 2006 and is active throughout
Poland, supported by the administrative centre of the district Mazowieckie. Stated goals are the
following: protecting the rights and member businesses and promoting organic farming and foods.
They are planning seminars, conferences, workshops, and information campaigns on effects on health,
processing, logistics and storage of organic foods. In order to realise the goals outlined above and to
provide print material to promote members’ products, a publishing business is also going to be
established. A databank containing organic producers, processors and operators’ details is also to be
compiled. Moreover, they are planning to establish a wholesale company to serve as the repository
and distributor of Polska Ekologia members’ products. The association also wishes to improve the flow
of information between producers and processors and co-operation with public institutions in order to
combat unfair competition (e.g. false labelling!). Further plans include providing information on GMO
foods and supporting the foundation of producers associations. Recently, Polska Ekologia has
launched a campaign promoting organic food in hotels and restaurants.
(Contact: Polska Ekologia Stowarzyszenie Przetwórców i Producentów Produktów Ekologicznych. ul.
Wspólna 30, 00-930 Warszawa, Ansprechperson: Liliana Lehrer-Rychel +48 604 799 718, +48 506
921 748; Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
4. +++ PL: Higher sales of organic produce in supermarkets +++
In Poland, there are several initiatives aimed at promoting organic products in supermarkets. On one
hand, several organic operators are planning to sell their produce under the newly developed
trademark o!eko in Polish supermarkets. The idea was born out of the Organic Marketing Forum in
Warsaw, in May 2006. So far, eight producers provide about 60 dry products under the common label.
The label incorporates the word “eco” and the picture of a stork. The group of producers is accepting
new members. Contact: www.oeko.pl or 0048 34 365 08 52.
Carrefour, the retail chain, has already decided to start selling eco-products in Poland. The precontract
was fixed by Carrefour delegates and producers from the association “Polska Ekologia” on
28th February. For the beginning, organic food will be available in eight shops in the larger cities of
Poland. The inhabitants of Warsaw, Krakow, Danzig, and Breslau will be first to experience chemicalfree
foods. In the future, the retail chain is planning to extend the sale of organic products throughout
If the other large retail chains follow Carrefour’s example, this will open up important opportunities for
the further development of the Polish market for organic goods. There are strong indicators for such a
positive trend. According to the newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Tesco, another major retail chain, is also
going to introduce the first eco-products in its stores this year. In addition, the organic retail chain Bio
Planet is set to open its first shops soon. Organic Farma Zdrowia, which already owns nine organic
shops, has plans to start six new shops this year, while the Alma-chain is doubling its organic sales
annually. The growing trend of consumers more conscious of their health and concerned about
nutrition is becoming evident in big cities where more and more customers are prepared to increase
their spending for foodstuffs.
5. +++ CZ: Yearbook on organic farming published +++
The Czech Ministry of Agriculture has published a comprehensive yearbook on organic farming in the
Czech Republic. The information was compiled by Bioinstitut - Institute for Ecological Agriculture and
Sustainable Landscape Development and the organic farmers’ association PRO-BIO. The bilingual
yearbook (Czech/English) can be downloaded from the organic-europe.net website:
6. +++ RO: LaDorna plans to boost organic dairy exports +++
The dairy group LaDorna, one of the biggest players on the Romanian market, is planning to export
more than 6,000 tonnes of organic dairy products (pressed cheese, milk, cottage-cheese and feta
cheese) to Greece, Germany, England and the United States in 2007. The expected turnover from
these exports totals EUR 22 million.
7. +++ BG: Tandem invests in organic meat processing +++
Tandem, the Bulgarian meat processing company, is highly interested in setting up an organic meat
product-line. Chairman Kiril Vatev has announced the plan to invest €2 million to move forward with
launching the line and to support organic meat production through a two-year organic breeding
programme. Bulgarian beef (veal) and pork is seeing growing demand in Bulgaria, despite high prices.
As of 2003, Tandem already held the necessary certifications such as ISO 9001 and HACCP for export
to the EU,and Bulgaria’s entry into the EU in January has further improved its access to European
markets. Nevertheless the company continues to produce predominantly for the domestic market –
presumably also in terms of organic products.
8. +++ UA: FiBL Switzerland supports organic market development +++
For the past couple of years the Swiss government has been engaging in a socially, economically, and
ecologically sustainable agricultural development in Ukraine through its Research Institute for Organic
Agriculture (FiBL). These Swiss-Ukrainian partnerships were initiated to promote education and help by
advising local institutions. Meanwhile, the need for support in the area of market development has
continued to grow. Starting in January 2006 FiBL has expanded its collaborative efforts by working with
Ukrainian partners to facilitate both the integration of producers into the organic market and the selling
of organic products domestically and abroad. The main focuses of the 5-year project are: establishing
a local certification body, supporting of the producers’ association, BIOLan, and individual marketing
initiatives. In addition, FiBL assists the government with drafting laws regulating organic food and
farming and facilitates the exchange of experiences between people involved in organic farming in
Southeastern and Eastern Europe.
9. +++ RUS: Organic supermarket Grünwald opens in Moscow +++
After a great deal of preparation, the shop finally opened in November. Situated in a popular part of
Moscow, near the Metro station Molodeghnaya, the new organic supermarket enjoyes excellent
accessibility. Grünwald has a total area of 1530m² - with 860m² dedicated to the actual shopping area.
This is enough to house an organic bakery, a café, and a spacious sweets section, where chocolate is
made on the spot. The kitchen provides customers with ready-made and convenience food. The range
of goods includes more than 2,000 certified organic products, including baby food, pet food, juices and
wine. In addition to the large selection of foodstuffs, cosmetics and environmentally friendly cleaning
products are also available. 97% of the products come from European suppliers, mostly from Germany,
France, Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium. About 95% of the goods are imported by the company “Bio-
Market” via Germany to Russia. Consequently, meat and dairy products not only have to pass the
stringent German veterinary check but also must satisfy Russian requirements on the other side of the
border. The target group is clearly those who understand and appreciate the meaning of the word
“organic”, most of whom are the more wealthy members of the community. Prices in the store are
comparable other premium class supermarket chains. Accordingly, the employees are chosen and
trained very carefully in order to ensure optimal customer service. (www.grunwald.ru)
10. +++ Revision of the EU organic regulation 2092/91 +++
In December 2006, the EU Agriculture Council agreed on the basics of a new EU regulation on
organics after intense debates between the European Commission, the ministers of agriculture, and
European organic organisations. There efforts brought about considerable improvements compared to
the first draft of the revision back in December 2005. Nevertheless the decision of the ministers of
agriculture is viewed as premature in the eyes of many experts. For instance, the rules regulating the
importation of organic commodities are regarded as too lax to ensure the quality of produce imported
from third countries in comparison with what is produced within the EU. An EU organic logo will be
mandatory in the future for all organic products starting in 2009. Consequently, long-established and
familiar national logos will no longer be necessary. The use of additional private quality labels will,
however, continue to be allowed given that any attempt on the part of the European Commission to
prohibit the use of organic farmers’ association labels would never garner enough support. An attempt
to integrate guidelines for important sectors such as catering or organic textiles into the new regulation
The EU Agriculture Council also decided on a new version of import regulations for organic produce
from countries outside the EU. In the future, organic produce from third countries will be granted “direct
access” to the EU market– in order to comply with WTO requirements. The Commission will compile a
list of certified control bodies in third countries that will be authorised to regulate and ensure certain
standards for goods imported from their respective countries according to EU organic regulation
2092/91. As a result, the customary control certificates will be replaced with “direct access”. Details
regarding this new regulation have yet to be finalized. The previous regulation (“equality regulation”)
will remain in force as an alternative option. These new rules for the importation of organic produce
from third countries came into effect in January 2007. The entire revised EU regulation will take effect
in January 2009.
Update: The European Parliament (EP) opted to postpone a final decision on the new EU organic
regulation 2029/91 until its next session on 29 March 2007. The delegates sent the proposed
regulation back to the Committee on Agriculture. As a result, the EP approval necessary for final
adoption of the regulation is still lacking. The MEPs are not satisfied with giving their approval and are
instead seeking to actively influence the decision-making process in accordance with the “co-decisionmaking
procedure”. So far, the Member States and the Commission have denied this request. The
MEPs argue that the organic regulation goes beyond purely agricultural issues and is connected to
issues concerning the Common Single Market given the increasing demand for organic products in
restaurants, catering and non-food sectors. This would mean that the EP would have to play a role in
the decision-making process. A majority of MEPs voted in favour of the proposal that the new
regulation apply to large-scale catering and restaurants, as well as specify rules for organic cosmetics,
textiles, pet foods, essential oils, and food supplements. In addition, they propose some changes in the
content of the new regulation: a lower threshold value for unintentional contamination with genetically
modified organisms (GMO) of organic produce (EP: 0.9%; Commission: 0.1%), no acceptance of GMO
derived ingredients for organic foods and feeds (e.g. vitamins) even in case of “emergency”, and the
inclusion of veterinary medicines in the regulation.
The EP aims to negotiate with the other EU institution regarding whether or not the draft regulation
needs to be re-discussed on the basis of article 95 of the EU treaty (single common market). However,
the Commission and the Agriculture Council do not have to accept this request. Furthermore, the EP
cannot block final adoption of the new regulation forever. Within two months it has to provide its official
(Sources: www.gfrs.de, www.djnewsletters.de, www.ifoam.org)
11. +++ EU/World: Organic farming worldwide - IFOAM International and the IFOAM EU Group
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the worldwide umbrella
organization for the organic movement, unites more than 750 member organizations in 108 countries.
In its Brussels office, the EU Group, headed by Marco Schlüter, lobbies for organic farming interests in
Europe. While their website is only available in English, downloadable documents are increasingly
provided in Central and Eastern European (CEE) languages.
Last autumn, a seminar took place in Brussels on organic farming and rural development in the
context of the Lisbon Strategy. It aimed at examining the extent to which organic foods and farming
techniques can contribute to the overarching goals of the Lisbon strategy: growth, jobs and
sustainability for Europe. The main outcome of the meeting was the recognition of organic farming as
an excellent way to develop rural areas and to move toward achieving the goals of the Lisbon strategy.
The seminar report is available in Bulgarian, English, German, Hungarian and Polish language:
The IFOAM EU Group also publishes a regular newsletter (in English) with occasional extra editions
on hot topics such as the current revision of the EU organic guidelines which are also translated into
some CEE languages:
IFOAM International has recently launched a new internet training platform to increase access to
organic knowledge worldwide. Apart from training materials provided by IFOAM directly, it is also
possible and desirable that other organisations present their information and resources to the
international organic community. If your organisation is involved in quality training, please consider
posting any relevant information/documents on the Platform. You can submit your training materials,
announce training opportunities or be listed in the Links & Addresses section of the Platform:
IFOAM International is about to publish a report on the “1st International Conference on Organic
Certification” which took place in Rome in November 2006. Two other reports are already available:
“Proceedings of the 1st IFOAM International Conference on Animals in Organic Production”
(Minnesota, August 2006) and “Proceedings of the 1st IFOAM International Conference on
Organic Wild Production” (Bosnia-Herzegovina, May 2006). The reports are written in English and
cost EUR 12,- (download) or 16,- (CD-ROM): http://shop.ifoam.org/bookstore/index.php?cPath=64_65.
Another hot topic will be addressed in the upcoming “1st IFOAM Conference on Marketing of
Organic and Regional Values”. In addition, IFOAM co-organises the “International Conference on
Organic Agriculture and Food Security” with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United
Last but not least, IFOAM International went through a two-year consultative process resulting in the
formulation of four basic principles of organic agriculture: the principle of health, the principle of
ecology, the principle of fairness, and the principle of care. These principles are the roots from which
organic agriculture grows and develops. They express the contribution that organic agriculture can
make to the world and a vision to improve all agriculture in a global context. To further explore the
meaning of these noble principles, go to: http://www.ifoam.org/about_ifoam/principles/index.html (in
English, Russian, Ukrainian, French, Turkish, Polish etc.)
12. +++ 1st IFOAM International Conference on Marketing of Organic and Regional Values to
take place from August 26-28 2007 in Schwaebisch Hall, Germany +++
Emerging markets such as the Central and Eastern European Countries practice organic production,
but in light of the entrance of organic in mainstream markets, it is important to develop new and specific
marketing strategies that protect organic product identity, traditional knowledge, regional values and
biodiversity, and thus organic farmers and rural communities. The question is how to foster identity and
uniqueness of agricultural products and food through marketing strategies and how to best
communicate with the consumer. During this two day conference, experts from all over the world are
expected to discuss successful strategies and practical marketing examples but also relevant legal
requirements and concepts including regulatory approaches. The conference will be held in English.
Call for papers: Papers are invited for a list of topics that can be found on the website. Case studies
and practical marketing experiences are strongly encouraged; it is hoped to receive a full range of
papers spanning from grassroots and political nature to scientific and professional articles. Papers
should be submitted by May 18th 2007.
For further information visit: www.ifoam.org/events/ifoam_conferences/regional_values_2007.html or
address your inquiries to the conference organizer Organic Services, phone +49 (0) 89 820 759 – 07,
Fax -19, E-mail: email@example.com, www.organic-services.com
13. +++ Organic Marketing Forum 2007: registration deadline extended +++
The organisers of the Organic Marketing Forum from 14-15 May, 2007 in Warsaw have extended the
registration deadline by three weeks until 4 May.
About 300 people involved in the production, processing and trade of organic products are expected to
attend. More details, including the forum programme, registration forms and general information can be
found in four languages at www.ekoconnect.org or by phone 0049 351 456 80 39.
14. +++ Dates and Events +++
• FAO Conference on Organic Farming and Food Security, 3rd-5th May 2007, Rom, IT
• Organic Marketing Forum 2007, 14th/15th May 2007, Warsaw, PL
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