A key objective of organic farming is that animals are fed with feed produced at or near the farm. Yet, this is difficult to achieve in large parts of Europe. Organic feed and livestock production are concentrated in different regions. Animal feed often has to be imported from regions far away from where the animals are raised. The problem is most challenging for protein feed, which is sometimes even not available in organic quality.
Dr. Bram Moeskops, OK-Net EcoFeed project coordinator said: “Increasing the availability of organic and regional feed will further improve the sustainability of organic agriculture.OK-Net EcoFeed will work with farmers, breeders and the organic feed industry to make practical solutions available to improve the use of organic and regional feed.” All knowledge generated by the project will be formatted in practical fact sheets and videos and made available on the OK-Net Knowledge platform.
Dr. Bruce Pearce, Deputy Director Programmes at the Organic Research Centre said: “OK-Net EcoFeed will work with 11 innovation groups that will facilitate the exchange of knowledge among farmers, business actors, researchers and advisors. These groups will identify innovations from the ground up and ensure that solutions disseminated by the project “work in the real world” of farming and business. The innovation groups are amongst the most pioneering in organic pig and poultry production in their country”.
OK-Net EcoFeed is coordinated by IFOAM EU and involves 19 partners from 11 countries throughout Europe. The project is financed by Horizon 2020, the EU’s main funding instrument for research and innovation. OK-Net EcoFeed is funded under the umbrella of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI). This policy instrument aims to foster innovation by connecting farmers and researchers. OK-Net EcoFeed started in January 2018 and will run until December 2020. The project kick-off meeting took place at the Organic Research Centre in Newbury (United Kingdom) from 22 to 24 January.
OK-Net EcoFeed will build on the experiences of the OK-Net Arable project that established the OK-Net knowledge platform. The OK-Net knowledge platform exists for farmers and farm associations to find practical solutions in organic farming, and at the same time discuss how it works on the field, in their geographic and climatic conditions.
The partners of OK-Net EcoFeed are: IFOAM EU (Belgium), ICROFS (Denmark), FiBL (Switzerland), Organic Research Centre (UK), The Soil Association (UK), ITAB (France), IFIP (France), CRAPL (France), ITAVI (France), FNAB (France), Bioland & Bioland Beratung (Germany), AIAB (Italy), SLU (Sweden), Danube Soya Austria & Danube Soya Serbia, Ecovalia (Spain), Universidad de Córdoba (Spain), CIHEAM Bari (Italy).
Tuesday January 23, 2018/ IFOAM/ United Kingdom.