SME ORGANICS: Stakeholders and policymakers learn about Organic Action Plan development in Finland
IFOAM EU, other project partners and regional stakeholders of the SME ORGANICS project travelled to the region of South Ostrobothnia in West Finland for the fifth interregional Field Visit. The visit was hosted by Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (SeAMK).
On day 1 participants learned about the state of development of the organic sector in Finland. They were introduced to the relevance of regional action plan development for the organic sector and policymakers by the Finnish Organic Association and the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Best practice examples from Finland were presented, as a source of inspiration for regional action plan elaboration, looking at short supply chain development and Finland’s export and trade in organic products. Participants also visited practical examples including catering services at a district hospital sourcing some organic products and as well as farms producing and processing beef and spelt products.
On day 2 participants focused on the development and elaboration of their own regional action plans in plenary discussions and break-out groups facilitated by Stephen Meredith, IFOAM EU Deputy Policy Manager and Nic Lampkin, Executive Director of the Organic Research Centre. As part of these discussions participants exchanged on the setting of aims, objections and actions in the forthcoming plans based on each partners’ diagnosis of the organic and agri-food sector in their region. This discussion was complemented with presentations from the partners in South Ostrobothnia and the French region of Nouvelle Aquitaine outlining in their progress so far on elaborating their plans.
SME ORGANICS seeks to improve policies and programmes under the EU’s Investment for Growth and Jobs goal to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the SMEs in the organic sector of the participating regions. The project aims both at enhancing entrepreneurship but also at supporting existing SMEs in improving their performance.