To improve the marketing of regional products, farmers, trade, associations and local authorities can obtain support. To this end, the BÖLN offers various measures that are tailored to the respective target groups.
The Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung – BLE) is responsible for the implementation and execution of the “Federal Programme Organic Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture” (Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau und andere Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft – BÖLN). This is also where the BÖLN office (GS-BÖLN) is located, which is responsible for training, education and information measures as well as research funding and internet portals in the field of organic farming and sustainable agriculture. With funding from the BÖLN, the office has set up the central internet portal for organic farming www.oekolandbau.de, where, in addition to the results of the federal programme, all information on organic farming is made available in a format suitable for the target group, including over 60 teaching units for teachers. The site now records over 650,000 visitors per year.
Support of research and development projects
In addition, the BÖLN identifies research needs, advertises research projects, checks them for relevance, practical relevance and cost-benefit ratio, finances them and accompanies them until completion. As an interface between science and practice, the federal programme ensures an intensive exchange of knowledge through consultant networks, excursions, lectures, demo networks and much more.
To support the producer sector, for example, there is a subsidy for conversion advice: Conventional farms can receive individual advice before and during conversion. Ecologically managed companies, clubs and associations can be subsidised for their presentations at national or international trade fairs and exhibitions – mainly trade fairs in the food and agricultural sectors. The aim is to achieve greater acceptance for ecological and sustainable production by providing the trade fair audience with targeted, well-founded information.
Extensive knowledge transfer
Within the framework of the funding guidelines, a wide variety of projects, including more than 2000 trade fair presentations and more than 160 information and sales promotion campaigns, such as major consumer events, were carried out to give customers a taste of “organic”. In addition, more than 600 farms were supported in the course of their conversion to organic farming.
The objectives, target groups and funding rates of the guidelines vary. In principle, the aim is to close relevant gaps in knowledge and experience for sustainable and organic farming. In addition, the aim is to strengthen the competitiveness of ecologically and sustainably produced products within the entire organic value-added process, which can be the focus of educational offers for children, trainees and students in particular.
Through calls for tenders and announcements, more than 1000 practice-oriented research and development projects have now been supported and implemented with a funding volume of around 150 million euros. Since 2005, more than 4200 knowledge transfer events for practitioners have been held to disseminate research results.
Each year there are more than 120 seminars for various experts, about 100 publications are available, 40 of which can be ordered free of charge. The approximately 250 organic farms in the nationwide network Demonstration Farms Organic Farming (Demonstrationsbetriebe Ökologischer Landbau) register about 400,000 visitors per year. Since 2001, a total of 60 farms have been honoured for their exceptional concepts in the Federal Organic Farming Competition (Bundeswettbewerb Ökologis