Boosting the improvement of sustainable and ecological agriculture and food is the most important goal of the “Federal Programme Organic Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture” (BÖLN).

The programme was founded in 2002 and was based on a recommendation by external experts and representatives of German organic farming associations, which in turn was based on a weakness investigation. The BÖLN aims to improve sustainable and ecological agriculture and food production.

Initially, the BÖLN was intended primarily to fill gaps in knowledge and experience. To this end, it included not only the implementation of research and development projects but also measures to promote agricultural production, collection, processing, marketing and trade as well as measures for training and information for producers and consumers.

Instruction and further training

In 2010, it was also opened up to other sustainable economic forms. And a further year later, an additional guideline was drawn up under which research and development projects and measures for technology and knowledge transfer for sustainable production, processing and marketing of agricultural products can also be funded.

Since then, the BÖLN has been a state support programme to permanently support, strengthen and expand the ecological and sustainable agriculture and food industry in Germany.

With seminars, workshops, competitions and public relations work, the BÖLN contributes to qualifying and sensitising relevant target groups with appropriately prepared knowledge. These include farmers and companies in the food industry as well as consumers, children and young people, but also teachers and media representatives. Offers of information and trade fair appearances by the industry are also supported.

Utilisation of synergies

The German government’s sustainability target is to increase the proportion of ecological acreage in Germany to 20 percent by 2030. The Federal Government is implementing this goal with the “Future Strategy for Organic Farming” (Zukunftsstrategie ökologischer Landbau), among others, in which BÖLN plays a central role.

It is intended to contribute to improving the framework conditions for organic farming and to create the prerequisites for promoting the growth of supply and demand in equilibrium. All parts of the production and value-added chain are taken into account: from agricultural production, collection, processing and marketing to out-of-home consumption and consumers.

A special feature of BÖLN is that the individual measures and the projects supported by funding guidelines are closely interlinked in order to be able to use positive synergy effects. As part of the Federal Government’s sustainability strategy, it is financed by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). Since 2018, the federal budget has provided 30 million euros annually for the programme’s various measures.