LEUVEN, 28 May 2018 – The partners of the ‘Replacement of Contentious Inputs in Organic Farming Systems’ (RELACS) project gathered to kick-off the RELACS project in Leuven, Belgium. At the kick-off meeting, Project Coordinator Dr. Lucius Tamm said: “RELACS provides a unique opportunity for farmer organisations, advisory services and researchers to work together and contribute to even higher environmental standards in organic farming”.
Organic farmers adhere to high standards in producing quality food while protecting the environment. However, organic farming needs to improve continuously to keep meeting its ambitious objectives. RELACS will foster the development and adoption of cost-efficient and environmentally safe tools and technologies to:
- Reduce the use of copper and mineral oil in plant protection,
- Identify sustainable sources for plant nutrition, and
- Provide solutions to support livestock health and welfare.
As a system approach to sustainable agriculture, organic farming aims to effectively manage ecological processes whilst lowering dependence on off-farm inputs. The RELACS partners will evaluate solutions to further reduce the use of inputs across Europe as well as in countries on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean. Bram Moeskops, Research & Innovation Manager at IFOAM EU, said “IFOAM EU is committed to improve current practices in organic farming. To ensure solutions work in the real world of farming, IFOAM EU will facilitate a dialogue between farmers, scientists and policy makers which will result in recommendations for fair and practical EU rules for their implementation.”. Farm advisory networks in 11 European countries will reach out to farmers to ensure effective dissemination and adoption of the tools and techniques.