Thanks to the EU-funded project BIOFRUITNET, effective techniques of organic fruit growing can be spread and shared with other organic farmers. The project was coordinated by Naturland, bringing together 16 partners from 12 European countries.
Over the past 3.5 years, existing practical and scientific knowledge on organic fruit-growing was collected and synthesized within the framework of the project, distributing it widely among European countries through easily accessible formats like e-learning courses, podcasts, videos and practice abstracts. Moreover, farmers from all over Europe took part in visits to demonstration farms, exchanging their knowledge and creating strong networks of organic fruit producers and other stakeholders in the sector.
Farm visits to foster knowledge exchange
During farm visits within the BIOFRUITNET project, hedges were one of the measures presented to increase biodiversity in orchards. Birds of prey often nest in higher trees of hedgerows, which eat the mice in the orchards and thus control their population. Furthermore, they protect organic areas from drift if they are planted on the border to neighboring conventional farms.
In another farm visit, EU fruit farmers were able to inspect anchor plants, learn more about the measure and exchange ideas with the experts. There, they saw the positive effects that anchor plants have on indifferent aphid populations and their predators.
Facilitate access to knowledge
Soil management and fertilization as well as plant protection against diseases and pests are the most important areas for which many individual farmers in Europe have already established solutions and for which research has been carried out. However, this knowledge has not been more widespread, and language and geographical barriers have often limited the exchange among organic farms in Europe as well as between science and practice.
Within BIOFRUITNET, such farmers’ experience and their best practices were the starting point to foster knowledge flow and support European organic fruit growing. The most concerning obstacles to the organic pome, stone and citrus fruit growing systems in northern, central and southern Europe were pinpointed by information collection and analysis. The results are gathered in several materials (thirty short technical videos, one hundred practice abstracts, five podcasts and three e-learning courses) available in different languages on the project website and the Organic Farm Knowledge platform. By creating this European knowledge network, the project work will have a long-lasting effect beyond the end of the project and support the EU’s "farm to fork" strategy target to have 25 % of the EU's agricultural land managed organically by 2030.
HERE you can visit the BIOFRUITNET website.