Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
PRO-BIO, P. O. Box 116, CZ - 787 01 Sumperk
The foundations of organic agriculture in the Czech lands were laid following the IFOAM conference held in Olomouc in January 1990. Established on the 17th of July 1990, PRO-BIO was the first organic agriculture organisation in the Czech Republic and became the largest. The main aim of the organisation is to protect interests of organic farmers and to provide professional information. Since 1990 PRO-BIO has produced a national magazine Organic Agriculture, contributed monthly articles to Bionoviny (a national consumer magazine), organised professional seminars, visits and placements. Consultation is provided in six centres throughout the Czech Republic. In the last three years PRO-BIO has broadened its activities to undertaking professional programmes. To date PRO-BIO has established projects in natural animal husbandry, organic fruit-growing, biodiversity, organic food sale on the homemarket and the promoting organic agriculture.
In 1990 PRO-BIO had 30 initial members (total acreage 3480 hectares). Today it unites 138 organic farmers (total acreage 9448 hectares). PRO-BIO also has 90 other members (manufacturers, traders, schools, research workers and ecological organisations). Membership is primarily family farms (106 - average acreage 26 hectares), plus farming cooperatives and limited companies (32 - average acreage 210 hectares).
PRO-BIO has always worked closely with organic farmers abroad, especially SVWO (Switzerland) and Bioland (Germany). PRO-BIO joined IFOAM on 7.3.1991. In 1993 PRO-BIO founded its own trading branch in Staré Msto pod SnĹníkem and was among the initiators of a national controlling organisation KEZ and succesfully campaigned a unified quality control system. Czech organic farming is now recognised worldwide and its future development and expansion is anticipated. PRO-BIO tries to assist in organic produce marketing by developing the home market and exporting special produce (buckwheat, speld wheat, millet, herbs and others). At present organic agriculture is not supported by the Czech government, therefore economically independent means are necessary.