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Organic agriculture is far from the goal of 15 per cent in 2020, and production is declining

​Both production and consumption of organic food amount to so little that it is highly challenging to reach the goal set by the Storting of 15 per cent in 2020.  "Consumption has increased somewhat, but production is declining. The instruments do not adequately stimulate toward increasing production and sales. The public sector can influence demand to a greater extent by increasing its consumption of organic food," says Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss.

Published 2/16/2016 1:00 PM

Document 3:7 (2015–2016) The Office of the Auditor General's investigation of the authorities' efforts to reach the goals concerning organic agriculture was delivered to the Storting on 16 February.

The development for production and consumption of organic food is far from the goal of 15 per cent in 2020. In 2014, organic food amounted to 1.45 per cent of sales in grocery retailers, 4.7 per cent of the agricultural area was cultivated organically and 2.9 per cent of livestock husbandry was organic.

The Trøndelag counties clearly have the most organically cultivated area, followed by the counties of Østfold and Hedmark. The counties of Hordaland, Troms, Rogaland, Aust and Vest-Agder and Finnmark have the least.

"Organic agriculture is intended to be a catalyst for the work to make Norwegian agriculture more environmentally friendly and sustainable, but production is currently in decline. The public sector measures are inadequate as regards increasing organic production, and the regulations are complex and fragmented," says Auditor General Foss.

Changes in recent years have made it less attractive to transition to organic production. The roughage rates have declined substantially. The transition grant was repealed in 2014. The annual inspection fee that farmers pay to be associated with the inspection scheme for organic production has also increased.

At the same time, the situation has changed following a 2010 decision by Tine not to enter into new delivery agreements under which they pay more for organic milk. There is an exception for Tine's Region North, where the scheme is still in effect.

"The public sector can influence demand through its own consumption, but this is hardly done today," says Foss.

The OAG recommends that the Ministry prepare an updated comprehensive strategy and implement better stimulation measures to increase production, ensure recruitment and prevent organic farmers from dropping out. The OAG furthermore recommends that the Ministry follow up to ensure that public sector enterprises increase their consumption of organic food and strengthen the use of brand-neutral marketing.

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