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Making organic food What research can do for organic farming

Organic farming is booming in Switzerland. But there is a knowledge gap. The FiBL Research Institute for Organic Agriculture is looking at new organic technologies for farmers around the globe. (Michele Andina,

Conventional farming is on the decline in Switzerland while organic is steadily growing, with 12% of all Swiss farms now certified as organic producers.

An important source of know-how is the FiBL Research Institute for Organic Agriculture. FIBL tests new technologies and passes the findings on to farmers. FiBL is one of the world’s leading research institutes for organic farming, receiving many visitors from abroad, and has seen a growing interest in its work from India, Japan and China. The institute is also involved in international projects.

One such effort is Feed no Food, which looks at dairy cattle. Cows naturally graze on grass, but in conventional farming they are given concentrated feed made of cereal and soy. Another project looks at alternative plant nutrition to replace mineral fertilisers, which are mainly produced by exploiting non-renewable natural resources. For many consumers, organic products are still a luxury. But for farmers in poor countries organic farming could provide new hope. 

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