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Tropentag, September 19 - 21, 2016 in Vienna, Austria

"Solidarity in a competing world - fair use of resources"

The Current Debate on Governance and the Regulatory Framework on Organic Farming in the European Union and for Actors Importing Organic Products into the European Union from the Global South

Christian R. Vogl

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Dept. for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Austria


Organic farming is a promising agricultural method with positive effects on the human ecological and social environment. Governments have taken over a major role in defining organic farming by creating legal standards. Many countries all over the world have established a certification and accreditation system in order to protect the justified expectations of consumers with regard to processing and controlling the product quality of organic goods and to protecting producers from fraudulent trade practices. As they are relevant to international trade, these standards do not only influence the organic farming movement on the national level but also have a converse impact across national borders. Organic farming was established in a bottom-up process as farmers aimed to design sustainable ways of using natural resources. Farmers' traditional knowledge and their awareness of ecological, as well as, of social affairs was the main base for the development of organic farming. Since public interest in organic farming has grown rapidly, the ownership on the process of defining organic farming is no longer in the hands of farmers and the original principles and aims of the movement seem to be threatened by a bureaucratic view of “recipe”-organic farming. However, unsolved problems also exist between the necessities of global harmonisation and the local adaptability of the standards on organic farming. This paper structures the current discussion on compliance, conformity and equivalence of standard, introduces the current debate on alternatives to third party certification such as participatory guaranteee systems or internal control systems and gives future prospects for potential topics of urgently needed research on governance in organic farming.

Keywords: Governance, organic farming

Contact Address: Christian R. Vogl, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Dept. for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Gregor-Mendel-Strasse 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: christian.vogl@boku.ac.at

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