Organic farming on the decline in Norway

Organic farmingA new report released by the Norwegian agricultural research institute, the Norsk institutt for landbruksøkonomisk forskning (NILF), shows that organic farmers in Norway are quitting at unprecedented rates. Excessive bureaucracy and paperwork are being cited as the main reasons why organic farmers are giving up, reports

The biggest obstacle to farming organically in Norway stems from government red tape when farmers try to register their operations. “You get the feeling you’re not being trusted,” says former organic farmer Turid Wenche Åsum.

Åsum is among the many farmers in Norway who have recently decided to return to conventional commercial farming. Although she still runs her farm as environmentally friendly as possible, Åsum is frustrated by the excessive documentation needed to receive ecological certification.

The reduction in organic farmers comes at a time when consumer demand in Norway is fast increasing. Norwegian farmers are being encouraged by the government to expand their organic operations, even setting the goal that 15 per cent of all Norwegian commercial agriculture should be ecological by 2015.

Despite this call, the organic farming industry is waning. Maiken Pollestad Sele of the farmers’ organic trade association Oikos, says “the government needs to look more closely at the problems the farmers face if they really intend to achieve their production goals.”

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