Organic farming is gaining popularity among farmers. Research, conducted by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and IFOAM, shows that the demand for organic products is steadily increasing. Therefore, more and more farmers are making the switch from conventional farming to organic. Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of organic producers by approximately 55% globally.
The number of organic producers has increased by 21,000 in Europe, indicating the growth in this sector. Within the Netherlands, there were 2,076 registered organic producers in 2018, compared to 1,696 in 2017 . These numbers confirm the increasing popularity of organic farming both in The Netherlands and worldwide.
Impact of coronavirus
However, this growth is currently being affected by coronavirus developments. Due to inevitable strict measures taken by the Dutch Government, many conventional farmers, who planned to switch this spring, are not able to proceed. The reason being is that the admission tests by Skal were stopped, effective March 16, due to health reasons. Based on research among members, Bionext (a Dutch organisation that is committed to increase organic agriculture by connecting the chain from farmer to consumer) identified that this currently is perceived as the biggest bottleneck (retrieved from Bionext).
A solution to continue organic conversion during corona measures
These severe circumstances require a solution, and luckily Skal quickly responded to this situation with an effective alternative: online admission tests. As from March 27, farmers will be able to register again at Skal. Subsequently, they will receive an email requesting additional information to enable inspectors to determine whether the company meets the bioregulation or not. If necessary, the inspector will reach out by phone to obtain a better understanding of the company. This solution means that farmers can start switching over now with the physical inspection following later this year.
The idea of executing online admission tests is an effective development as farmers now have assurance that they can switch from conventional farming to organic. These times demand certainty and clarity, and with this alternative, Skal provides both.
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