European Project to Strengthen Networks in Organic Fruit Growing

Making successful methods in organic plant protection accessible throughout Europe is the aim of the “Biofruitnet” project initiated by Naturland. Through the exchange of knowledge between farmers, advisers and research institutes, innovations in organic fruit growing are to be promoted – and the competitiveness of European organic fruit growing is to be strengthened.

The greatest challenge in organic fruit growing is the protection of crops against pests and diseases. All over Europe, organic farmers have gained experience in plant protection and have developed successful methods of their own. But valuable practical knowledge often remains at the local level. The Biofruitnet project aims to change this and to improve networking among organic fruit growers across Europe. Knowledge about plant protection, fertilization and suitable varieties should thus be made available to all organic producers in Europe.

The project, which is funded by the European Union, is intended to strengthen the competitiveness of European organic fruit production, especially of pome, stone and citrus fruits. Although the European Union is the world leader in organic fruit production, organic fruit imports from non-EU countries have also increased recently. On the one hand, this is fruit that is imported because it thrives in other climatic zones, on the other hand because demand in Europe is not met or imported goods are cheaper.

E-learning, podcasts and videos for practitioners

The Biofruitnet project is planned for three years. It is coordinated by the growers’ association Naturland and implemented in cooperation with 15 partner organizations from twelve countries.

The aim is to gather the practical and scientific knowledge available locally in order to disseminate it throughout Europe through a wide range of channels such as extension services and universities and in a variety of formats such as e-learning, podcasts, videos and information leaflets. In addition, existing networks in organic fruit growing are to be strengthened and interlinked.

As a first step, a survey will be conducted to find out what problems European organic fruit growers face in practice and how they meet these challenges. Fruit growing consultants, fruit growers and researchers in 20 countries are therefore invited to participate in an online survey by 30 September 2020 and to present successful methods.