Organic Livestock Production Systems And Appropriate Development In Relation To Public Expectations
Original hosted in "Organic.Edunet", contributed by Social Updater
There has been a tremendous growth in numbers of organic farms in EU over the latest years – from below 20,000 farms in year 1992 to more than 120,000 farms in 1999 (Padel, 2001). Worldwide-certified organic production takes place in 130 countries, half of which are developing countries (ITC, 1999). The market share in EU, however, on total is still quite low ranging from less than 0.5% in nine out of 18 countries some countries to 5-9% in other countries for some major product groups (Michelsen et al., 1999).
Livestock production and especially ruminant livestock production forms an integral part of many organic farms due to its role in nutrient recycling on farms. Out of 16 European countries, livestock products were within the top five organic products in 14 countries (Michelsen et al., 1999). The market share of livestock products, however, is very different from product to product. In Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and Finland milk products are the most important organic products. Pork and poultry only play a minor role whereas eggs in some countries are quite important.
The recent development of organic farming in Europe is not only a matter of (marginal) agricultural change (Michelsen, 2001). It also represents an implantation of important aspects of recent major changes in society at large into agriculture. Essential vehicles in the development of the concept of organic farming are values expressing a general criticism of mainstream European agriculture and more general doubts about the interplay between man and nature as reflected in modern technology. In society at large these doubts have manifested themselves in growing political and public concern for the environment, increasing doubt regarding the importance of science in solving social problems, and increasing doubts about how society should be governed.