Consumers are more and more concerned with the health of the food they eat. While great public anxiety about genetically engineered foodstuffs and BSE in cattle has developed in Europe, on the positive side there has been a rapidly rising demand for organic produce. Food retailers, including supermarkets, have responded, and the organic sector has moved from a being marginal production fad to a serious subject of policy concern for politicians and public servants involved in European agricultural policy. In this book, three leading authorities on organic farming have for the first time produced a serious and scientific overview for the lay person of the state of organic farming and policy towards it in Europe.
Based on a review of a huge body of scientific research into all aspects of the sector, the authors provide in accessible terms a balanced, up-to-date and policy relevant overview of:
· The position of organic farming today - the size of the sector, its markets, where research is conducted, and current policies towards the sector.
· Assessment of its possible contributions to the environment, food quality, farmers' incomes, and rural development generally.
· Explanation of the key factors that will impinge on the organic farming sector in future and policy towards it as a result of the enlargement of the EU, ongoing negotiations at the World Trade Organisation, and Agenda 2000.
· Detailed recommendations for future organic farming policy.
Most people recognise that European agricultural policy has to change, involving further fundamental reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. This unique book will be of immense value to all those concerned with the issue, as well as of intense interest to those actually involved in the organic farming sector. Educationalists in agricultural universities and institutes will find the book a useful teaching tool.