Policy goals, research needs and research regarding organic sector in Finland
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AbstractThe status of organic farming was established in Finland already in 1995 with the entry to EU, but in the Finnish food markets the share of the organic sector has remained modest. As a possible explanation the presentation examines the correspondence of the research needs and actual research dealing with the organic supply-value chain in Finland. The approach is that of policy impact research. The research needs are inferred from the direct and latent articulations present in the policy discourse It is captured by examining the goals and their justification in about 20 national policy documents from the past decennium; these deal either specifically with organic sector, with food and nutrition or with sustainable development, or they are more comprehensive and address several topics. The review on the concluded and still on-going research dealing with the organic sector over the past 15 years is based on a meta-study. The main information sources were the research data bases of the two main actors, University of Helsinki and MTT Agrifood Research Finland. This information is complemented with the relevant doctoral theses from all Finnish universities. Several bottle necks regarding the development of the organic supply chain are identified in the policy documents. These deal both with legislative and informative aspects as well as with various practical hinders. Preliminary results suggest that either the research design or communication of the research results to the relevant actors so as to open the bottle necks has not been very successful. Today the research is still very much biased towards primary production, and little attention is paid to the societal and policy aspects. The few studies focusing on the consumer attitudes and on the R&D aiming at promoting organic food within the public catering sector are also identified in the policy documents. Other important topics are formation, development and characteristics of the organic value chains and networks, and the prerequisites for their functioning, but research on these topics is modest. From 2013 on, the research has been coordinated by newly founded Finnish Institute for Organic Food, and the situation is likely to change. The institute stresses the need of science communication, adult education and co-operation with entrepreneurs in research. The transdisciplinary approach involving both the researchers and the practical actors enables designing the research so as to better respond to the needs of the organic sector and to the expectations of the society.
TypeConference paper, poster, etc.
Risku-Norja, Helmi; Mikkola, Minna and Nuutila, Jaakko (2014) Policy goals, research needs and research regarding organic sector in Finland. Paper at: The 11th European IFSA Symposium. Farming systems facing global challenges: Capacities and strategies. , Berlin , 1-4 April 2014.