Data network for better European organic market information

Place: Not Applicable, _NO_MAIN_REGION
Food consumption patterns: diet, environment, society, economy and health Food consumption patterns: diet, environment, society, economy and health
Total Budget: € 1.900.000,00 | Period: From January 2012 To December 2014


The project has aimed to increase the transparency of the European organic food market through better availability of market intelligence about the sector to meet the needs of policy makers and actors involved in organic markets. It has helped to overcome the current dispersion and fragmentation of data sources, laid the foundations for a long-term collaboration on organic market data collection, handling and storage among all stakeholders and bodies actively involved in the field and increase the transparency of the European market for organic food through better availability of relevant market data


Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona - Italy

Lead applicant

formazione e ricerca

Czech University of Life Sciences Prague - Czech Republic

Initiative partner

The Czech University of Life Sciences Prague consists of five faculties. The Faculty of Economics and Management, employing 250 teachers and researchers, is the largest of these. The Faculty is ranked by the Czech government among the top five economic faculties in the Czech Republic. Its research and education focus is in agricultural economics, management and rural development, whereas the Department of Humanities is active in social research on sustainability, organic farming and food supply chains, both on a national and international level.

Organic Research Centre - United Kingdom

Initiative partner

The Organic Research Centre Elm Farm (ORC) is the UK’s leading independent research, development and advisory institution for organic agriculture. Since 1980, ORC has played a leading role in the development of the organic sector and organic standards both in the UK and internationally. ORC has collaborated in agricultural economics particularly with Aberystwyth University, jointly producing and publishing the Organic Farm Management Handbook with information for organic businesses for nearly two decades.

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture - Switzerland

Initiative partner

FiBL has substantial competences in market and agricultural policy research and was involved in a broad range of EU-projects. The implementation of participatory approaches in research and development projects is a particular strength of the Socio-Economics department of FiBL.

University Kassel - Germany

Initiative partner

formazione e ricerca

The EU-funded project "Data network for better European organic market information" (http://www.organicdatanetwork.net) OrganicDataNetwork, is a collaborative project that increases transparency of European organic food market through better availability of market intelligence in the sector, considering as well the needs of policymakers and key players in organic markets. The idea is to establish a long-term permanent network of stakeholders engaged in organic market data collection and analysis. Case studies, online database, code of practice and manual on how to make European organic market information better available, more accurate and relevant and boosting transparency in the sector

OrganicDataNetwork established a multi-stakeholder integration and coordination Centre which aims at initiating a learning process between stakeholders in order to improve the data quality as well as the stakeholder’s commitment to a European organic market database. By harmonising data collection, facilitating access to relevant information and developing tools for new data collection systems, the project will provide invaluable support for the organic food market across and beyond Europe.
The main innovation produced are:
• to increase availability and assess feasibility of national data,
• to increase transparency of the European market for organic food by developing proposals for harmonizing data collection and processing methods,
• to better coordinate and support data collection by providing relevant recommendations to the EU. A Statement on data collection and EU Regulation, including small changes to existing regulations and proposed recommendations has been produced.

In the rapidly changing global environment the organic sector has now developed to a point where the need for improvement in statistical data is becoming particularly pressing. The consequences of failing to address these needs are potentially significant in financial terms for organic businesses.
The organic sector has a turnover of over 20 billion euros in Europe. While retailers claim there is not sufficient European production to cover their needs, some farmers and processers are reluctant to enter the market. Currently, important market data, like the amount of production or consumption, retail sales, trade between the countries of the European Union, international trade, or producer and consumer prices, do not exist or are rough estimates.
For SMEs and for farmers public available data are essential to understand the real opportunities and risks. More reliable data will lead to a better match of organic consumption and production in Europe and better targeted investment.

The consortium is bringing together stakeholders and bodies from 10 countries that collect, classify, investigate methodologies to evaluate data consistency, with particular focus on trade flow information,  publish and analyse data on the sector. A Database to input and store the data collected as well as the information on data collectors and on collection methods has been set up.  In addition, a multi-stakeholder organic market data network of public and private bodies in the EU and Associated Countries has been established and an electronic forum (OrganicDataForum) for information exchange among stakeholders through the project's website has been initiated. A Code of Practice for the initiation and maintenance of good organic market data collection and publication procedures (OrMaCode) has been developed. It consists in a list of principles and related indicators covering the different key areas of organic market data collection, processing, storage and publication/dissemination.

Efficient market information is essential for sound decision-making: farmers, traders and policymakers benefit from up-do-date and timely information, businesses need information to make appropriate investment decisions, including whether or not to enter or leave the organic sector. This is particularly relevant for SMEs, which have limited market intelligence resources and for which capital is often the most significant limiting factor. Access to timely information on prices and quantities plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of losing money on a market transaction and this applies to farmers, traders and consumers. Policy makers need information to determine the appropriate levels and nature of regulation and support measures. This project thus lay the foundation for Ensuring food security on a European scale through access to reliable & transparent data for all beneficiaries: farmers, traders, and policy-makers.

Group photo Group photo, Bari workshop, July 2014; description: At the 2nd workshop in Valenzano - Bari IT (July 2014), around 30 participants from 20 countries addressed the methodology of organic market data collection in Europe
Plenary session at workshop in Bari Plenary session at workshop in Bari, July 2014, decsription: Participants during the 2nd workshop in Valenzano – Bari IT (July 2014) in plenary session
Small group meeting Small group meeting with Bukhard Shaer; description: During the 2nd workshop in Valenzano – Bari IT (July 2014), participants took part to 4 small group meeting

The OrganicDataNetwork project has 15 partners from 10 European countries. The project is coordinated by the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy. Six participants are SMEs, one is an advocacy organization and the rest are research and/or academic institutions. All have long standing experience in European organic market information and are successful within their fields, however with different approaches and business philosophies.
The SMEs involved in the project, thanks to their close business relationship to the organic market and its actors are facilitating:
• the assessment of sector needs & wishes with regard to market data
• SME implication in case studies and research activities
• Dissemination of results

1st project meeting in Ancona 1st project meeting in Ancona in March 2012; description: Project members during the 1st meeting in Ancona, IT – 8/9 March 2012
3rd project meeting in Newbury 3rd project meeting in Newbury in March 2013; description: Project members during the 3rd meeting at the Organic Research Centre (ORC) in Newbury, UK – 14/15 March 2013
4th project meeting in Montpellier 4th project meeting in Montpellier in October 2013; description: Project members during the 4th meeting in Montpellier, F – 3/4 October 2013

The main obstacle that the project has had to overcome is the current dispersion and fragmentation of data sources that reduces the transparency and availability of organic market data. In addition, the methods on which published data are based change over time even within one country, so that comparability between countries and over time is very problematic.
To overcome it, the project has established a permanent network of stakeholders and bodies actively involved in organic market data collection and publication. Next, it has reviewed the needs of end-users with respect to organic market data and evaluated existing data collection methods. Having collected currently available data on organic markets in Europe, the project partners produced a comprehensive database and are currently developing a set of practical recommendations for the initiation and maintenance of good data collection and publication procedures, which will be collected in a Code of Practice and a manual.

OrganicDataNetwork will provide an effective coordination centre between private and public bodies and key stakeholder from across Europe who collectively work together to meet the needs of policy makers,  farmers, processors wholesalers and other actors involved in organic markets.
In summary, the added value in carrying out this project at the European level is that the  OrganicDataNetwork makes particular reference to several key elements of organic policy and organic sector development:
1. Tailoring EU organic farming policies
2. Profound decision basis for EU producers and SMEs
3. Efficient organic market coordination in the EU
4. Avoid welfare losses of producers and consumers
5. Fair competition in the agriculture and food sector
6. Prevent fraud in the organic sector
7. Mutual learning between Member States and organic sector bodies

The project has acted as coordinating centre between public, private bodies and stakeholders. Has developed a proposal for the establishment of a permanent network to achieve collaboration on statistical issues regarding organic farming markets in the long term.

Different dissemination and communication tools were adopted.
The project webpage has served as an archive for project information (http://www.organicdatanetwork.net/odn-home.html). Running information and communication with the stakeholders and the public on project issues and results has been ensured by means of newsletters. Subscription to the newsletter are free. A part of the webpage has been used for communication and consultation of the stakeholder panel by means of an electronic meeting room.
Press release are translated in 4 languages: Italian, German, French and English.
The project leaflet has been used for promoting OrganicDataNetwork and can be found in the public web site.
A Powerpoint presentation of the overall project has been produced and multimedia presentations to summarize project results have been developed.
Online publications, presentations and deliverables of the OrganicDataNetwork project can be found at OrganicEprints.


../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf OrganicDataNetwork The OrganicDataNetwork project leaflet contains the relevant information about the project and is available in A4 format