The food safety agency Evira reports an uptick in the number of farms making the conversion this year. So far 365 farms have applied for organic certification. Of these, 113 are animal production farms – nearly as many as in the past three years put together.
Meanwhile there are more companies manufacturing organic food products this year, with about 100 joining the ranks so far in 2012. The newcomers include many bakeries in particular.
The Evira figures also show that many young people taking over existing farms are deciding to switch both their crops and animals to organic procedures in one fell swoop.
The stars line up
The agency sees a constellation of factors that have lined up to boost the popularity of natural farming. These include strong market demand, a positive prevailing atmosphere and the new six-year subsidy period for the EU’s Rural Development Programme, which begins in 2014.
Sharp rises in the cost of artificial fertilisers and fodder may also be driving producers to try natural methods, Evira notes.
There are now about 4300 organic farmers in Finland. With this year’s new arrivals, the share of farmland devoted to organic production has risen to about nine percent.
The government has a set a target of 20 percent organic production in Finland by the year 2020. This goal has already been reached in Kainuu and the Åland Islands, with North Karelia close behind. Meanwhile south-western Finland lags far behind, with less than five percent of farmland given over to organic methods.
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