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Organic farming

In the Czech Republic, we can currently notice an increasing demand for organic food. The public is also interested in the role of organic farming in preservation of the landscape. These are the reasons for expansion of organic farming, especially primary agricultural production. The number of organic farmers who run their farms in accordance with the organic production rules has exceeded 4 000 in the Czech Republic. The acreage of agricultural land in organic system is more than 11 % of total agricultural land.

What is organic farming?

Organic production is a complex system of farm management and food production that combines best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources, the application of high animal welfare standards and a production method in line with the demand of certain consumers who prefer products produced using natural substances and processes. The organic production method thus plays a dual societal role. On the one hand it meets the demand for organic products and on the other hand it delivers public goods contributing to the protection of the environment and animal welfare as well as to rural development. Organic farming is associated with observance of many rules based on the above mentioned definitions.

Examples of banned procedures in organic farming:

  • GMOs and products produced from or with added GMOs shall not be used.
  • Mineral nitrogen fertilizers shall not be used.
  • Plant protection products not authorised for use in organic production shall not be used.

Animal nutrition and health:

  • Synthetic amino acids in animal nutrition shall not be used.
  • The preventive use of chemically-synthesised allopathic medicinal products and antibiotics is not permitted.
  • The use of coccidiostatics for growth promotion purposes and the use of hormones production. Feed, soil, to control reproduction are prohibited.

Examples of rules concerning animal welfare, which must beobeyed in organic farming:

  • Requirements on housing.
  • Permanent access of livestock to open air areas, preferably pasture.
  • The minimum space for indoor housing and minimum open air areas for livestock.

Activities of ÚKZÚZ in organic farming

Controls

Important prerequisite for the positive image of organic farming as a whole is a functioning, independent and transparent control system. In compliance with changes in EU legal regulations on organic farming the Czech Ministry of Agriculture, as a competent authority, has delegated its control activities to ÚKZÚZ, namely in organic primary production. Thus, ÚKZÚZ has been carrying out official controls in organic farming since 1. 1. 2010. Since that date, ÚKZÚZ has also taken over delegated controls from private control bodies. These delegated controls are carried

out for the State Agricultural Intervention Fund (SZIF). Organic farming is one type of subsidies included in Government Regulation No. 76/2015 Sb. and 331/2019 Coll., on agroenvironmental measures.

Private control bodies (KEZ o.p.s.; ABCert AG; Biokont, s.r.o.; Bureau Veritas Czech Republic, spol. s r.o.) continue their control activities linked with certification of organic products, organic food and other organic products, i.e. these private control bodies carry out at least once a year an on the spot inspection of all operators.

Official controls are performed by inspectors of ÚKZÚZ according to their regional competency.

Repeated risk analysis takes place during the year in order to select the farms and businesses to be inspected. Risk factors which are used for such risk analysis are for example livestock management without winter housing (higher risk of infringement in the field of animal welfare), farming on arable land, orchards and vineyards (higher risk related to misuse of pesticides not authorised for organic production) or parallel organic and non-organic farming (parallel production) within one subject (higher risk of substitution of non-organic for organic product). About 5 % of subjects engaged in organic primary production are yearly selected for official control.

The official control includes control of records, documentary evidence and as the most important part, physical control on the farm, i.e. controls of plant production (fertilizers, plant protection products), livestock production (feed, animal health, animal welfare), identification and labelling of organic products.

Every year the inspectors carry out about 250 official controls in organic farming.

Inspectors of ÚKZÚZ may take samples for testing of products not authorised for organic production or for checking production techniques not in accordance with the organic production rules. Samples may also be taken and analysed for possible contamination by products not authorised for organic plants and organic products are subjects of sampling. Such samples are analysed for presence of GMO and residues of substances not authorised for organic farming (esp. pesticide residues).

From 50 to 80 samples from organic farming are taken every year.

Assessment of inputs for organic farming

ÚKZÚZ within administration of registers for fertilizers and plant protection products also considers applicability of such products in organic farming.

Other activities of ÚKZÚZ in organic farming

ÚKZÚZ is an authority designated to manage the database of seed and seed potatoes produced by the organic production method. The database is managed by the Division of Seed and Planting Materials.

Since 1. 1. 2010, this division has also been responsible for authorisation to use seed or seed potatoes not produced by organic production method.

 

Ing. Martin Prudil, Ph.D., vedoucí oddělení, Hroznová 63/2, 60300 Brno , tel. +420 543 548 386, mob. +420 737 267 506, martinprudil@ukzuzcz, Ústřední kontrolní a zkušební ústav zemědělský

Oct 11, 2022

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