Published: 04/07/2006 - Updated: 03/20/2017
Author: Prof. Dr. Luis Ruiz-García
The Governing Council today approved the Draft Law on Organic Agriculture that has been developed by consensus with the whole sector and will involve a new way of working in organic agriculture in the Basque Country. The Act and its Board will allow better strategic planning to consolidate a sector that emerges strongly.
The Basque Government regulated the implementation of European legislation on organic agriculture as early as 1996, but the experience gained in these years have seen the need to update legislation to reflect the new reality of the sector of organic production by giving greater importance to the Council and the sectors represented in it, i.e., holders of production, processing enterprises, traders and importers, consumer associations and the Federation of Organic Agriculture Euskadi.
The adoption and publication of this Act which re-launch the parliamentary process is vital, in the words of the sectoral organizations, to develop organic agriculture in the Basque Country. The Law project proposes the creation of a regulatory body, its powers and performance standards, with representation from industry and government. This body will be an agile and efficient in tackling the challenges ahead, as it is estimated that organic agriculture is the sector that will grow in coming years.
Organic agriculture is strategically very interesting for the Basque Country, which considers the agricultural development based on traditional or local agriculture,like ours, which ensures sustainability, agricultural productivity and a healthy environment, responding to a social demand increasingly evident.
Organic agriculture promotes a link between farmers, producers and consumers, overcoming the problems of seasonality of crops, which goes beyond mere marketing, showing the image of a farmer being capable of responding appropriately and responsibly to the demands of today's society.
At this time we are taking major steps towards organic agriculture with the launching of pilot projects on Integrated Production as a prelude to it, including major crops such as cereals, potatoes or beets, and have begun the experience of cattle farms in milk.
This way, an ambitious but achievable, leads us to believe that in 2020, 20% of food consumption in the Basque capital is organic, comes primarily local and regional, at least in basic foods such as bread, eggs, milk or vegetables.
Organic production, data of interest
What is an organic product?
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Organic Agriculture is a production system whose primary goal is to get healthy food and high quality, respecting the environment and conserving soil fertility, all through the optimal use of natural resources, excluding the use of synthetic chemicals and ensuring sustainable development. It should be noted that under these assumptions, although subject to different kind of regulation, is also Integrated Production.
Organic agriculture is regulated by the European Community R Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 of 24th June, on ecological agricultural production and its indication in agricultural products and food.
That means that a product with references to organic production methods has, advertising, business documents or signs saying the product or its ingredients have been obtained in accordance with the rules of organic production.
Counterfeit: Is there a way to differentiate the real from the fake products?
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Yes, there is a way to see the product obtained by organic agriculture: it carries a designation of quality through organic logo, the labels and leaflets of movement of organic products. This quality label is controlled by the Basque Government.
Percentage of production for both food conventional (non-organic) in the Basque Country
One could be an approximate 3%. It should be noted however that the large increase is occurring in recent years in terms of number of holdings registered in the Register of Organic Agriculture of the Basque Country. It is also striking the number of requests for information about the regulation of OA that is being received, in order to register in order to produce the agricultural production system.
A dated December 31st, 2005, there were 187 operators registered in the Register of Organic Agriculture in the Basque country, with 136 producers, 47 processors, 1 importer and marketer 3. Territories, 51 operators are Alava, Bizkaia and 85 to 51 in Gipuzkoa.
The total area (in hectares) is 1049.19 hectares inscribed: 380.34 hectares in Alava, Bizkaia and 299.18 to 369.68 in Gipuzkoa. Of the total area, 621.10 hectares are already in the stage described in Organic Agriculture, 236.31 hectares are under conversion, finally, 191.78 hectares are newly registered and therefore have to pass the time for conversion to organic agriculture (2 or 3 years depending on crop).
As for agriculture exportation, there are enrolled in the Basque Autonomous Community, a total of 66 operators: 7 in Álava, 20 in Bizkaia and in Gipuzkoa 39. Although the species and variety of skills is extensive, noteworthy for the number of farms engaged in sheep milk, sheep meat, cattle meat, cattle milk or poultry egg production, among others.
Finally, the following types of crops: fruit, vines, cereals and vegetables.
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