Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
Department of Ecological Agriculture, Wageningen Agricultural University,Haarweg 333, 6709 RZ Wageningen, The Netherlands
The urge for more sustainable agriculture is increasingly recognized by the various parts of society (producers, consumers, scientists, policymakers, etc.). But in order to realize sustainable agriculture in practice it is not sufficient to change only the on-farm agricultural practices. Present socio- economic and political paradigms also need a change so that these can be able to support implementation of sustainable agriculture.
The concept of Demonstration Centres for Applied Agricultural Sustainablility (DCAAS) offers an interesting concept and operative tool for changes not only at the farm level. Well designed and professionally organized DCAAS don't have a potential to demonstrate only »excellence« of sustainable agricultural production in practice but can also at the same time serve as centres performing research and education activities. In other words DCAASs are the places of demonstration, information, inspiration and enabling for different target groups (e.g. students,agronomists, farmers, consumers, policy makers, etc.). Several demonstration centres for sustainable agriculture are already under operation in several countries and have proved to be powerful catalysts for change. Therefore, it is not surprising that several international institutions have increased their interest in such like centres and started investing some money in their establishment. Among most recent of these efforts is the joint venture of the EU PHARE programme and the Danube Environmental Programme which initiated and financed setting up of three demonstration centres for sustainable agriculture in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. All three centres have to be managed in accordance to the Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2092/91 for organic agriculture. The concept and activities developed around these centres will be discussed since it is hoped that these can have a great influence on dissemination of sustainable agriculture ideas as well as on the general agricultural policy in these countries.