On 7 March, the Operational Groups (OGs) assessment 2018 was presented at the EIP-Agri subgroup meeting. This is an assessment of OGs approved and running under the European Innovation Partnership on Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-Agri). According to the definition of the European Commission, OGs bring together multiple actors such as farmers, researchers, advisers, businesses, environmental groups, consumer interest groups and other NGOs with the aim to advance innovation in the agricultural and forestry sectors.
The clusters of the types of agriculture covered by the OGs identified in the study ‘Operational Groups Assessment 2018 Final Report’ (PDF) highlight the interest in increasing sustainability in agriculture. While conventional farming represents the largest category of agriculture in OG projects with 28%, it is closely followed by alternative types of farming such as organic farming, conservation and circular agriculture, agroecology and bio-based production. Together they make up the majority of innovative projects with 53% of the OG projects. With 121 OGs (20%, see p.11), organic farming represents the second most important type of agricultural activities among the OGs. This is proof of the innovative strength of the organic sector. The organic OGs range from agroecological soil management and compost systems optimising soil fertility to cultivation strategies and electrical weed control as concrete, locally adapted innovation. They cover pilot projects and best practices that boost the performance, resource efficiency, environmental sustainability and resilience of organic agriculture while also accounting for the economic viability of the farmers and improving animal health and welfare. Case studies 3,5 and 7 in the report explicitly deal with (the transition to) organic farming.
TP Organics is the European Technology Platform for Organic Food and Farming with the aim to strengthen research & innovation for organics and other agroecological approaches. The secretariat of TP Organics is hosted by IFOAM EU since 2008.