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Such indirect costs are not usually included in food prices, and this distorts the market comparative prices for organic products appear high while encouraging activities that are costly to society.
Many reasons contribute to the additional costs to market organic products: Because organic producers comprise a smaller proportion of the agricultural industry, individual producers are widely dispersed.
Greater collection and assembly costs further add to the costs of transportation. Pest and disease infestations can result in handlers facing an unpleasant choice between losing most and possibly all of a crop, or treating it with a prohibited substance to recover the losses, and selling the product as non-organic. Segregation increases costs of handling. Many retailers require their suppliers to provide individual packaging and special labelling for organic food not required for conventional food.
Ecological tourism as a tool for conversion to organic agriculture, Poland The European Centre for Ecological Agriculture and Tourism-Poland ECEAT-Poland is using ecotourism as a tool to help small farmers make the sometimes difficult transition from conventional agriculture to organic agriculture. In this way farmers benefit financially while environmentally sound practices are spread, and the natural landscape, biodiversity and local culture and traditions are protected and shared with visitors.
In Poland, most small farmers already use relatively little chemical pesticides and fertilizers, so transition to organic agriculture is not, in fact, so difficult.
It mainly requires education of the farmers in the organic approach and in some practical techniques of organic agriculture. For farmers who wish to convert to organic production, ecological tourism provides additional income during and after the transition process, helping to motivate farmers to make the transition to organic farming. Ecological tourism also educates tourists about organic agriculture and organic foods, and provides an extra market for the farmer's products, in addition to the income from providing tourist accommodation.
Small farmers interested in converting to organic agriculture and ecotourism are identified. Farms are visited and farmers are advised on the advantages of participating in the project.
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Formal training sessions are held for small groups of interested farmers, providing practical information on organic agriculture, ecotourism, the growing market for organic products, general ecological awareness, and the necessity for cooperation among farmers in order to achieve successful transition to organic farming.
Once a farm meets Ecoland standards an internationally recognized certification body for at least half of its products, it may participate in the ecotourism programme. Descriptions of participating farms, their surroundings and local tourist attractions are prepared and published annually in an ecological tourism brochure both in Polish as well as other languages in cooperation with the ECEAT network based in the Netherlands.
A promotional campaign emphasizing the social, ecological and economic goals of the project is conducted using press conferences, radio and television interviews, newspaper and magazine advertisements and articles. From an initial tourist from Western Europe inthere were over 3 in and 75 percent of the farms remained within the project. ECEAT-Poland publications and videos give more information on ecological tourism, ecological awareness and ecological cooperation to the farmers in the project, as well as to the public.
The project has grown quickly and become well established in Poland. It is being increasingly recognized by ecological organizations, the public, local governments and private industry as a practical means to help convert to organic agriculture. Conversion to organic agriculture through ecotourism is proving to be an environmentally and economically sound solution for farmers and society, particularly in, though not limited to, ecologically protected areas such as those near national parks and landscape parks.
The ECEAT programme, which started in Poland, has now been replicated, with local variations, in 23 other countries of Europe, assisted by the network base in Amsterdam. Lopata, To date, consumers in industrialized countries have been willing to pay a premium for organic food because they perceive environmental, health, or other benefits from that choice.
While surveys show that consumer demand is unmet, organic farmers also report insufficient demand for their products.
Balanced expansion of supply and demand and reduction in organic production costs achieved through targeted research will be one factor in maintaining the organic price premium. At present, the general tendency for demand to out-grow supply suggests that the premium is not under immediate threat for most product categories.
Organic production is expected to continue to offer premium prices and a profitable alternative to conventional production systems for many farmers. High prices and limited outlets have historically curtailed demand for organic agriculture.
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Lower prices would expand the organic market without discouraging producers, provided that the premium still compensates the costs of transition and provides a living wage to the producer. Most of the premium is captured by retailers, wholesalers, distributors and processors. Retailers can reduce prices while maintaining the profitability of organic farmers. A price premium to producers of percent, perhaps even 50 percent, would have almost no impact on consumers.
This, however, is not likely to be accepted by retailers and where feasible, direct marketing channels are being developed. At present, the marketing strategy of many major food retail chains is to expand the supply of a few low-cost organic products produced by a relatively small number of producers.
This strategy benefits a few large organic farms, which rely on input substitution and global market over small and medium-sized local farmers.
Greater investments in research and extension offer long-term solutions to organic production and handling constraints. The redirection of only a small portion of public expenditures towards biological and cultural methods could increase yields, lower handling, distribution, and marketing costs, and deliver lower prices for organic food to consumers.
As the organic market grows and matures, economies of scale should narrow margins for conventional products.
In many developing countries, there are no domestic institutions that can assist farmers to produce, handle, and market organic food. Extension services deter the adoption of organic agriculture because agents are trained to advise farmers to use what the experiment station has determined to be the most efficient inputs. Most often, organic methods are considered obsolete throwbacks to a less efficient time.
Land tenure is another determining factor, given the long-term commitment needed for organic methods to be effective. Tenant farmers are unlikely to invest the necessary labour and sustain the costly conversion period without a guarantee of continued access to the land. Organic farmers may take years to reap a return on their investment and tenants and sharecroppers seldom have the luxury to wait that long.
The trade of organic commodities needs to be viewed with reference to international commodity markets. Prices received by farmers for conventional products have stagnated or decreased in real terms over the past thirty years, with farmers sometimes collecting revenues below production costs.
Relative decline in prices since the late s affects almost all agricultural commodities. Low coffee prices 12 have forced millions of small farmers into crippling debt that ultimately results in them forfeiting their land. Low world prices also mean low export earnings: Current low price levels of agricultural commodities are likely to remain so in the short-term Costs of conventional farming inputs have increased substantially, usually requiring hard currency to import.
Organic agriculture offers an opportunity to improve income because of: Even when the price premium on organic products is low, stable and profitable long-term prices offer more security to farmers than volatile conventional commodity markets.
Social performance The conversion of a farm to organic practices influences all facets of the operation, including labour demand, social structures, and decision-making processes.
Organic agriculture enterprises often require more labour input than conventional farming in order to replace external energy and capital inputs such as fertilizers and herbicides. However, the extent depends on the intensity of the operation and level of farm capitalization.
The ley system applied to organic cereal and dairy production in Australia, for example, results in similar demands on resources for organic and conventional farmers. Crop diversification on organic farms, and related different planting and harvesting schedules, distributes labour demand through the season. This stabilises employment, reduces turnover, alleviates many problems related to migrant labour, and helps to spread the overhead payroll costs per employee.
Diversity in agricultural production and value added products increase income-generating opportunities and spreads the risks of failure over a wider range of crops and products. Labour demand is at the same time a constraint to organic conversion and an opportunity to expand employment in rural communities. Northern countries with high wages and a declining rural population have the greatest difficulties in finding an adequate labour supply. This constraint is however overcome by employing labour force migrating from developing countries and in-transition economy countries.
The introduction of organic agriculture may shift gender distribution of labour insofar as men may prefer to be involved with mechanised agriculture.
In developing countries, women depend on access to common property because they seldom own land. Given that credit frequently requires land as collateral, landless people in general, and women in particular, find themselves unable to obtain credit through most lending institutions.HOW TO WWOOF FOR BEGINNERS - THE BASICS FOR WORK + CHEAP TRAVEL
It might therefore be assumed that organic agriculture facilitates women's participation as it does not rely on purchased inputs and thus reduces the need for credit. However, since organic agriculture requires several years to improve the soil, insecure long-term access to the land is a major disincentive for both women and men for launching into such a long-term enterprise.
To be competitive, organic operators need to experiment with new techniques, and must manage labour, land, and capital quite differently from conventional operators. The different options presented to farmers result in a variety of choices in techniques. Some succeed, some fail, and the difference is often based on experiments undertaken by the farmers, whether collaboratively with, or independent of, the public research institutions. On-farm research generates new knowledge that is shared with other farmers.
Such learning processes lead to greater innovation together with increased likelihood of these technologies to persist.
By building on local knowledge, organic agriculture approaches revitalize traditional customs and local self-reliance. Employment opportunities and higher returns on labour encourage people to remain in agriculture, reinvigorating rural communities. Strengthened social cohesion and partnerships within the organic community make for better connections with external institutions. Organized groups, such as producer cooperatives, have better access to markets and can negotiate their needs as equal partners in the food supply chain.
Together with the production system, the social environment of those engaged in organic agriculture generally improves: These refer to and are based upon the conventions of the International Labour Organisation on labour welfare and to the human rights charters of the United Nations. The version of the IFOAM Basic Standards proposes to ensure access for workers, farm families and indigenous people to bargain collectively for fair wages, safe and healthy working conditions, and social services.
The secret to SEKEM's success however, is not to be found in the company's agricultural practices alone but rather in its efforts to bring about integration between the economic, the social and the cultural spheres of life in all aspects of its work.
Employees are therefore empowered to realise their full potential not only as employees but also as responsible and capable members of society. The initial success of the SEKEM biodynamic farm in the production of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs lead other farmers to cooperate with the initiative.
Today around farms cultivating approximately 2 hectares all over Egypt, from Aswan to Alexandria, are applying the international guidelines for biodynamic agriculture. Complementing this is an initiation for economic and cultural development, a programme which has led to 1 direct jobs in SEKEM projects and an estimated further 2 related jobs.
In the economic sphere, SEKEM established a new form of management for the added value chain from the farmer to the consumer, promoting partnership and transparency, and ensuring high quality products and justified prices, bearing in mind the welfare of humankind and earth.
In order to ensure the proper production and marketing of its products, SEKEM established several specialized companies. Isis was responsible for producing and packing bread, dairy products, oils spices, different varieties of teas and conservable food items for local supermarkets under the Isis brand name. Inthe Isis product line was expanded to include eight herbal drinks and different spices, which are now also sold though SEKEM shops throughout Egypt.
Schaette in order to develop the Egyptian phytopharmaceutical market. A group of physicians and pharmacists work together in the research and development of new products from natural sources for different illnesses and conditions. In Atos secured a licence agreement with Weleda, a leading phytopharmaceutical producer in Germany, to manufacture and market natural remedies in Egypt.
InAtos launched Tomex mg, a standardized concentrated garlic powder tablet shortly followed by other phytopharmaceuticals in Inthe group of companies developed a quality manual and was awarded the ISO certification. Libra Egypt, founded insupplies the raw materials from the farmers and producers to the various companies of SEKEM for further processing and production. InLibra for Organic Cultivation was established, growing cotton and other crops organically in Egypt and in1 acres of cotton were planted biodynamically.
Established inthe Hator Company produces and packs fresh fruit and vegetables for both the local and export markets.
An effective marketing system ensures efficient distribution of the products in cooperation with wholesale, retail and consumer representatives.
It creates a living interaction between the farmer, producer and trader, providing the consumer with the highest possible quality at the fairest prices. These garments are also exported through Alnatura, supplying wholesalers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, and Oskri in the United States which began sales through e-commerce.
SCD's programme of activities is supported by a variety of organizations and donors, private, governmental and non-governmental, local and international. Over the last two decades SCD has expanded its programme activities from initial basic educational initiatives and now implements a variety of project and programme activities in the fields of economic development, health care and education.
This holistic approach to development emphasises participation, integration and the need to foster long-term interdependence and self-determination of community members.
The SCD school was established in and includes a kindergarten, a primary and a secondary school for pupils. Based on the Egyptian state curriculum, the SCD school emphasises programmes that cultivate the inner integrity and moral fibre of the individual. The conventional education is supplemented with courses in eurhythmy, crafts, drama, dance or music. The Illiterate Children's Programme provides literacy classes for children between the ages of 10 and Specially trained teachers offer curricula designed to increase awareness, raise consciousness and introduce new experiences; helping students see themselves as part of the wider community and facilitating their positive contribution.
The Handicapped Children's Programme encompasses children with all types of disabilities, both physical and mental. The programme aims to allow the children to exercise their full rights as human beings and to achieve independence. The programme aims not only to improve the quality of the children's life, but also to ensure that they become integrated members of society to the fullest extent possible.
The Adult Education Centre offers general consciousness-raising programmes for the local community's adult residents in various areas of education, with the aim of enabling individuals to make a positive contribution to their communities and country. The Centre's programme includes the provision of literacy training reading and writingEnglish language classes incorporating computer literacycomputer training, hygiene in the work place, arts, music and sports. Besides providing comprehensive basic health care services the Centre is also involved in education and consciousness raising concerning all aspects of public health, including environmental health awareness, women's health issues and family planning.
The prevention of infection and disease through better hygiene and sanitary practices is the primary goal of the medical Centre's sustainable development efforts. In addition to the services provided by its clinic, the Centre also runs an outreach programme through its mobile clinic. In this way a population of 15 people are given access to modern health care in outlying areas. The Vocational Training Centre established by SCD seeks to provide young people with specific skills for self-employment because of the lack of opportunities that currently exist in the labour market.
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Fifty trainees each year participate in a year programme that guides them in every aspect of their chosen profession. When they graduate they are sufficiently skilled to either start their own business or find employment. Through intensive course work, the students are immediately involved in production where practical skills are preferred over theory. Training by both foreign and local professional teachers includes: It has spread biodynamic agriculture throughout Egypt and has given farmers easy access to education and encouragement to participate in cultural activities.
The system of re-channelling part of the revenue received from the commercial section of the initiative to the social section has proved to be very successful. With a view to transfer the underlying ideas and techniques to other places of the world, SEKEM is cooperating in initiatives in India, Palestine, Senegal, Turkey and others.
A growing number of certified organic agriculture commodities produced by small-scale farmers organized in democratic cooperatives meet fair trade requirements: The user will undergo a battery of other tests before the site selects a perfect match. This is made possible by the varied communication channels that the site offers including text, audio and video chat. With a user base of more than 9 million users, you are guaranteed of a fast response. If you are looking for a site that makes things happen, this is your go-to site.
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