Organic Agriculture

DEVELOPMENT OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN SLOVAKIA

Development of this type of agricultural production in Slovakia started in the year 1991 in connection with experience and development trends in West European countries. In this period, the basic regulatory framework for the system of ecological economy became “Rules of organic agriculture valid for the territory of the Slovak Republic”, which were based on principles and requirements of ecological agriculture defined by the IFOAM. 31 farms have entered the system, mostly agricultural cooperatives with a total area of 14 773 ha of agricultural land. After the conclusion of the conversion, 31 entities were allowed to label organic production from the 1994 harvest as “bio”.

CONCEPTION OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE

In the year 1995, a “Conception of Organic Agriculture in Slovakia” was worked out and approved by the government of the Slovak Republic. This fundamental document determined the basic direction of ecological agriculture in the Slovak Republic in a horizon until the year 2010, and has adopted a set of measures for its realisation.

A basic change in the legal performance of ecological agriculture occurred in the year 1998 when was passed Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 224/1998 Coll. on Ecological Agriculture and the Production of Bio-Foodstuffs.

PRESENT STATE OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC

The area of ecologically cultivated land is approximately 65 388 ha at present, of that 16 110 ha of arable land, 48 911 ha of permanent grass cover, 234 ha of orchards and 133 ha of vineyards. 131 organic entities are registered, of which 65 organic producers of bio-products, 59 entities are in conversion, and there are 16 organic producers of bio-foodstuffs.

With respect to the geographical distribution of farms, their highest density is in mountain and sub-montane areas, mainly in the districts of Čadca, Kysucké Nové Mesto, Svidník, Bardejov, Stropkov, and Humenné, while the network of organic enterprises is lower in lowlands. Cereals are grown the most (wheat, spelt, rye), however, also peas, sunflowers and fodders, the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants, as well as of vegetables, mainly of asparagus, is successful, with the production of bio-grapes and bio-fruits developing. A substantial part of the plant production is being exported to countries of Western Europe. In animal production, there prevails sheep and goat breeding, along with the production of traditional cheese products and the breeding of cattle, mainly without market production of milk.

After admission to the EU, organic agriculture is being carried out in compliance with EC Regulation No. 2092/1991, and subsidy support is arranged within a Rural Development Plan measure – Agri-environment and Living Conditions of Animals. In compliance with EC policies, the Action Plan for Organic Agriculture in Slovakia has become the new strategic document for organic agriculture.

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