More than 250 people attended Organic Policy Summit 2013 at the prestigious Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary. Sándor Lezsák, Vice-president of the Parliament opened the conference in the upper house chambers. Katalin Tóth, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development announced the near completion of work on a National Action Plan for Organic Agriculture which is intended to work with and strengthen the National Biodiversity Strategy and National Environmental Program of Hungary; a key piece of these combined strategies being to keep the country GMO free.
Prof. Urs Niggli of the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and Marco Schlüter from IFOAM EU presented latest issues of organic research and rural policy in the EU. Special emphasis was placed on the anticipated funding schemes of the 2014-2020 period, both in agricultural research and production. Lukáš Víšek from the European Commission on Agriculture and Rural Development then unveiled the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) in Agriculture Productivity and Sustainability, a new instrument for fostering sustainable agriculture development.
During a press conference at the coffee break, Dr. Dóra Drexler of the Hungarian Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (ÖMKi), organizer of the day’s event, spoke about the current situation with organic agriculture in Hungary. Hungary has less than half the percentage of land in organic cultivation as the average of the EU27. Dr. Drexler continued to note that practice oriented research and well informed extension services are needed in order to move the sector towards the European trends. Dr. Gábor Solti, president of the Association of Organic Farmers in the Carpathian Basin (KÖSZ) also stressed the importance of cooperation among the independent nations to support farmers in the Carpathian Basin. In his presentation to the summit following the press conference, Dr. Solti urged international unity of organic standards, support programs, and market development to promote development of organic agriculture.
Parliament member József Ékes presented attendees with information on the National Sustainable Development Council before Dr. Drexler presented on innovation in Hungarian organic agriculture including new developments in on-farm research such as examination of Hungarian varieties of potato and wheat that are more ideally suited to local organic production. A brief panel discussion was held with audience members presenting issues, comments, and questions related to Hungarian organic agriculture and policy before the summit was adjourned for a visit in the Parliament building, and an optional Danube boat tour.
Presentations can be downloaded on the link below: