Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
1) Association of Ecological Agriculture GAJA, K.Donelaiúio 2, 3000 Kaunas,2) Chamber of Agriculture in Lithuania, K.Donelaiúio 2, 3000 Kaunas, 3)Department of Ecology in Kaunas Agricultural Academy, 4324 Kaunas-Academy.
The Association of Ecological Agriculture in Lithuania was established in 1990. It became a full member of IFOAM in 1991. There are about 170 membersof Association now, more than 150 of them are farmers, the others teachers, scientists, who are interested in ecological agriculture and are propagating these ideas. All farms are private. Average size of the farm is15 ha. The Control Committee inspected 64 farms in 1995 and issued 36 Certificates of which 6 farms are fully converted and 30 are in conversion.We expect to have 70 certified ecological farms in 1996.
In Lithuania financial support for ecological agriculture is concentrated in the Karst region, a region with several ground water pollution problems because of its geological characteristics. In other parts of Lithuania the development of organic agriculture is supported by many governmental and non-governmental organizations. The conversion subsidy would stimulate a large group of farmers to convert to ecological agriculture. The free of interest credits are accessible for integrated and ecological farmers in Karst region . We would suggest the State to provide a subsidy during 2 years at a level of 20% of the normal wheat yield or free of interest credits for farmers in conversion in whole Lithuania.
Until now the promotion of Ecological agriculture was done in the seminars for farmers. We have the network system for educational seminars in agricultural schools. We have possibilities to train farmers abroad with help of SVWO (Switzerland), MESA (USA), LOGO (Germany), REC (Hungary), FDPA(Poland) and others. We have regular space in the newspaper to issue quarter newspaper together, but we need a financial support for it. We have issued some brochures and leaflets.
The priority campaign to be taken in promotion of Ecological Agriculture is to develop the domestic market for existing certified products. The promotional campaign would be targeted at the Lithuanian consumer, who would be able to buy organic products. There is a very big demand for ecological products in Lithuania. The certified farmers can obtain 10 - 20%extra prices. Main products are vegetables, honey, grain, grass-tea. We have not special shops, and the ecological products have been realized in the farm market. Next step is to find a market in foreign countries to sell our products. It will help to involve more conventional farmers into ecological farming. For marketing of ecoproducts we have established cooperative »Ekoimpulsas«.
There is no an advisory system for ecological agriculture in Lithuania. We expect to establish the advisory service in Lithuania with assistance of Swedish Institute of Ecological farming. For the purpose we need to train of advisors in Lithuania and abroad in 1996 and to train and advice farmers. The costs for advisory work should be shared by farmers and the State. Because of the reluctance of farmers to accept new ideas, new farmers are the special target group for the advisors. The training should be financed by foreign donors.
Lithuania already has an inspection and certification system. In 1995 64 farms were inspected for possible certification as ecological farm. The system needs further improvement and recognition by the European Commission, because the movement has ambitions to export part of its ecological production. The Swedish certifying body KRAV is expected to provide assistance. The financing to be the most difficult part. It was concluded that for training of inspectors foreign donors should be found. When the system is established farmers should pay for the costs of the system, but as long as they do not get the extra costs back via the prices for their products, the government should financially support the farmers.