Reaching 25% organic farmland in the EU by stronger and better-connected organic advisors and organic advisory services

Abstract *

The EU has set a target of reaching at least 25% organic farmland by 2030, which requires a tripling of the current organic area and the entry of 700,000 new farmers into the organic sector. This calls for easy access to reliable knowledge about organic practices, as well as the creation of innovations. Organic advisory services are essential to achieve this, and there is a need for 10,000-20,000 organic advisers in the EU to serve these farmers. The overall objective of the project is to co-create an EU-wide network of 1000 organic advisors that will exchange knowlegde and provide mutual support, covering all 27 EU Member States and 7 other European countries. The network will cover both plant production and animal husbandry. It will embrace the diversity of organic advisory services offered by private and publication organisations or self-employed professionals. An Action Plan will be created to ensure the long-term continuation of the network, laying down a governance structure and identifying future funding streams. Exchange will take place in online community spaces and in-person events. Online learning activities will be offered to increase technical and soft skills of advisors, both newcomers in the sector as well as more experienced organic advisors. Based on an analysis of drivers and barriers, the project will empower organic advisors to improve capacity of their organisations and promote the creation of organic advisory services where they do not exist yet. Successful business models of structuring and financing organic advisory services will be assessed. The outcomes of the project will be disseminated to actors within and beyond the organic community. Finally, synergies will be created with other EU projects and policy makers will be engaged to foster long-term support for the network itself and for organic advisory services in all parts of Europe.

O1: Co-create an EU-wide network of organic advisors and advisory services for exchange of experiences and mutual support, covering 34 European countries, which will continue after the end of the project.

O2: Strengthen organisational capacity of and raise policy support for organic advisory services, and better connect organic advisors with other AKIS actors.

O3: Increase technical and soft skills of 5000 organic advisors, newcomers as well as more experienced ones, through a series of dedicated learning activities.

O4: Create synergies with other EU projects and engage with policy makers and other key actors to foster long-term support for organic advisory services.

O5: Communicate about the project activities, disseminate, and exploit project results, reaching 200,000 actors among the key target groups.