Organic food in Belgium

Essay by delphine December 2003

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What about the future of Organic Food in Belgium?

What is Organic food?

Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Organic farming prohibits the use of toxic and persistent chemicals in favour of more "earth friendly" practices that work in harmony with nature and preserve biological diversity - the multitude and variety of life.

What about organic food in Belgium?

In Belgium, the percentage of organic farmers is still very low in comparison to the number of farms, but their number is growing. Today 20,265 hectares are managed organically by 628 farms, constituting 1,48% of the agricultural land and 1,08% of the farmers.

The first conversions to organic farming in Belgium took place during the 1960s. But most organic farmers have only recently begun organic farming. This increase in conversions has been particularly strong in the Walloon region. Most organic farms in the Flemish region practice rather intensive agriculture on very few hectares (vegetable and fruit crops).The

biggest difference between the regions is extensive cattle farming in the Walloon region which is in contrast to intensive farming in Flanders, which also explains the difference in evolution of organic farming in the two parts of the country.

Council Regulation (EEC)N° 2092/91was implemented in Belgium in 1993. A system in which products are certified organic is a likely next step in the socially responsible food movement. The certified organic label is already a clear standard from which consumers can judge a product's integrity. The state authority for organic farming is the Ministry of Agriculture. It supervises two inspection bodies: Blik and Ecocert. Both inspect farms and farmers and are responsible for the certification of organic products.

The traditional marketing channels for organic products are: natural food shops, weekly markets and direct...