Organic farming is gaining popularity in the European Union. It is estimated that by 2030, 25% of agricultural land in the EU will be used for organic cultivation. Organic production in the European Union is subject to strict regulations that govern all the aspects of organic farming.[i]
In this post, we discuss the principles of organic fruit and vegetable growing on European plantations. What makes a farm organic and why is organic so popular? What are the requirements for organic certification? You will find the answers below!
With increasing awareness of the harmfulness of synthetic pesticides, farmers replace them with natural, environmentally-friendly fertilisers ,pesticides and herbicides. Organic farmers do not grow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Food manufacturers not only resign from preservatives and artificial additives but they also dispose of waste and store food using environmentally friendly processes. Farmers monitor every stage of food production on their farms and respect the laws of nature, growing products that are unprocessed and unmodified genetically.[ii] No wonder organic food has become a fashion in the 21st century.
Restrictive guidelines force organic fruit and vegetable producers to use alternative methods to keep their soil fertile and their plants healthy.
Farmers apply crop rotation. This means growing different types of crops in the same area, in a specific sequence.
Because mineral nitrogen fertilizers are forbidden, alternative non-chemical fertilizers are used top restore soil fertility. Natural fertilisers contain organic compounds that provide the nutrients that plants need. Natural fertilisers improve soilin a comprehensive way.
Another option is to grow plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation and other plants for green manure. To control weeds and pests, organic farmers use weed and pest resistant plant varieties and pest control practices.
According to the Regulation 2018/848 of the European Parliament and ofthe Council, only natural methods may be used to prevent damage caused by pests and weeds.[iii] The use of pesticides is forbidden. Farmers choose more resistant plant species andvarieties. They also apply various farming approaches such as biofumigation or mechanic or physical methods. Biofumigation is a process that uses natural anti-biological compounds to kill pests and microorganisms that attack cultivated crops.
It is also possible to control weeds and pests by means of thermal processes, such as soil solarisation. In this process, steam is injected into covered planting beds, no more than 10 cm deep.
For plants and plant products to be considered as organic products, the production rules laid down in the Regulation 2018/848 shall have been applied with respect to the parcels during a conversion period of at least two years before sowing, or, in the case of perennial crops, during a period of at least three years before the first harvest of organic products.[iv]
Farmers who apply for organic certificate must, for example, use theirplot in a manner that preserves biodiversity, without genetic modification and in a way that is not threatening to grassland birds and precious wild plants pecies, and they must protect soil and water. The use of chemicals and synthetic additives is forbidden. Products are processed using traditional technologies, so as to preserve their original qualities.
At least once a year, organic farms are audited by control bodies each year appointed by local Ministries of Agriculture.
To sum up, by choosing organic fruit and vegetables from European plantations, you get high-quality products with high nutrient content and natural taste. Those products will not deposit harmful pesticides, chemical additives or GMOs in your organism. Also, you may be sure that the methods usedto produce organic food are environmentally friendly.