RELACS seeks to promote the development and adoption of environmentally safe and economically viable tools and technologies to reduce the use of external inputs in organic farming systems, namely:
- Copper and mineral oil for plant protection,
- Recycled fertilizers and conventional manure in plant production,
- Antibiotics and anti-worm drugs (anthelmintics) in animal production,
- Synthetic vitamins in animal production.
The project covers all major sectors of organic farming, including horticulture, arable cropping as well as cattle, sheep, pig and chicken production. The diverse needs in the different European countries and regions are considered. A multi-actor approach will be the core of the project, as RELACS was developed by involving actors and stakeholders from research and industry, organic farmers and advisors from the start.
To pursue its aims, RELACS will:
- Provide an overview of the use and critical evaluation of the need for external inputs in organic plant and animal production;
- Provide tools and techniques to reduce or gradually phase out copper, mineral oil, conventional manure, anthelmintics, antibiotics and synthetic vitamins, while building on previous projects;
- Evaluate products and management practices in different pedo-climatic and farming conditions in Europe, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon;
- Develop roadmaps for phasing out contentious inputs together with organic farmers, advisors, industry, scientists and policy makers;
- Reach out to farmers to ensure effective dissemination and adoption of the tools and techniques through farmer advisory networks in eleven European countries.