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Czech Agriculture – using CAP for agroecology?

Czech Republic is the European Union country with the highest share of arable land, around 38% of its surface. Despite this fact, recent trends give clear evidence for an enormous decrease of agricultural land due to the expansion of urbanization and industrialization plans across the country. However the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU) could potentially push Czech Republic to promote an environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture. The process of land degradation in Czech Republic has its roots in the agricultural land expropriations of the 1950s done by the communist regime. During that time agricultural policy focused mostly on the large-scale consolidation of farmlands as well as on highly intensive methods of production through the use of agrochemicals without consideration of potential environmental risks.  In light of the „Velvet revolution“ in 1989 the political and economic changes gave rise various agricultural currents, from agroindustry to organic farming. Already in 1990 the Ministry for Agriculture established its own department for „alternative agriculture“, handing out Governmental support in form of direct subsidies to […]

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Will organic farming save “unbalanced” Romanian agriculture?

According to recent figures released by Eurostat, Romanian agriculture is highly unbalanced. That is not the big surprise. In the last 20 years the country’s agricultural landscape was in a continuous transformation; agrarian reforms without a long term vision, real estate and agribusiness “cowboys” from all over the world speculating on low prices, productions focusing mostly on export commodities…all in a country of peasants versus their institutional neighbours. The surprise lies in how different stakeholders interpret these figures. Let’s have a look. According to the EU analysis, Romania is the 8th agricultural power of Europe and for the year of 2014 has an agricultural production estimated to 15.5 billion Euro (1160 Euro/hectare). Poland was the only other ex-communist country which outranked Romania having a 22.5 billion Euro (1660 Euro/hectar) production. The top ranks go to France, with its 70.5 billion Euro and Germany – 51 billion Euro production. Where is the great unbalance? Crop production amounts for 73% of the total, 26% being attributed to animal farming and only 1% represents agricultural services. On the […]

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Key EU policy-makers: Organic is a key sector to develop in Europe

Bari, Italy, 11 September 2014 – From EU to national and regional level, policy-makers and organic stakeholders agree: the EU must support the development of the organic sector across Europe to achieve a sustainable agricultural system that benefits people and planet.  “Our goal is to create a sustainable model of agriculture based on distinctiveness, competitiveness and innovation. In this context, organic farming is a strategic sector for Italy and for all Europe.” This was the message of Maurizio Martina, Italian Minister of Agriculture, at the 8th European Organic Congress currently taking place in Bari, Italy. “We are using the Italian Presidency of the European Council to tackle the proposal for a new EU regulation. Another decisive date for the entire food industry and the challenges of the future will be Expo 2015, which will be a moment of collective reflection on crucial issues such as food security.” Alina-Stefania Ujupan, Deputy Head of Cabinet for Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “The organic sector has made dramatic progress in recent years, and […]