ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark

Organic World

Finland O5

Terhamaa, P.

Union for Organic Farming, Savilahdenkatu 10 A 28, 50100 Mikkeli, Finland

Finland is perhaps the northernmost agricultural country in the world. Growing wheat is only possible in the southern parts of Finland, with milk production concentrated in the central and northern parts of the country. Most of the vegetable and berry varities can be grown all over the country with the exception of the nothernmost of Finland.
In 1989, there were 373 farms cultivating 2300 hectares under controlled organic farming methods. In 1995, 2727 or 2,4% of the total farms with a production area of 54548 hectares or 2,6% of the total arable land (22 823 ha certified organic, 21 409 ha in conversion and 10316 ha to be converted).
Advance information on the 1996 figures shows that approximately 2000 new farms will convert and that the organically ciltivated area will double to 110000 hectares. The growth of interest in organic production has been speeded up with a conversion period subsidy paid since 1990.
In 1995, Finland joined the European Union and established an Agri-Environmental Programme in Finland partly financed by the EU, and the national subsidy system was replaced by this.
According this Programme the farmer agrees to convert all or at least the main part of the arable land under his/her control to organic production on or before the beginning of the 1998 growing season. The formal agreement covers five years.
The Union for Organic Farming created the first production standards in Finland based on the IFOAMs Basic Standards and established its control system in 1985. In 1994, the control system of organic plant production and plant products was taken over by the state according to the European Economic Area plan for Finland.
The Plant Production Inspection Centre is responsible for crop husbandry and also for supervising the Unions standards for organic plant production, The National Food Administration for the processing of plant based products and The Union for Organic Farming, for organic animal husbandry, beekeeping and processing of animal products.
The minimum requirements of the Council Regulation 2092/91 are followed in the organic production and the national organic production are being followed as terms of agreement in organic production. Over 90% of the organic farms belong to this Agri-Environmental Programme.
Farmers, processors and packers of organic products, belonging to the control system for organic production may use in their organic products the official symbol of the European Union, Luonnonmukainen maatalous - ETY:n valvontajärjestelmä/Ekologisk jordbruk-EEG:s kontrollsystem . At the moment the more commonly used logo, a ladybird, is that of the Union for Organic Farming or the Demeter - logo on biodynamic products is used.
The markets for organic products are expanding continually, with the main products being oats, barley, rye, wheat, peas, potato, carrots, turnip, onions and cabbages. About 4,5 mil. Litres of certified organic milk is now being produced and certified organic meat production is growing. 11 regional marketing organizations of producers have been established to intensify the collection and distribution of organic products.
In 1995, the number of farms processing organic products was 437 /processing enterprises about 60). Finland exports small amounts of dried ryebread, wheat rusks, carrots, carrots and hulled grain. Organic production are mainly fruit and vegetables and processed foodstuffs thereof.
The Organic Farming Union is a cooperation organization for association involved in organic production. The Union has 23 member associations consisting of 2400 members.
A condition for using the ladybird logo is that the standards of the Organic Farming Union must be followed. The Union also publishes an organic farming magazine Omavarainen maatalous .

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 1996: Working Part Memorandum 1996:4 The Development of Organic Production.