DENMARK - The Danish government has launched a new, broad action plan for a more organic Denmark. The plan paves the way for a closer and binding collaboration between the local, regional and state authorities.
"The public sector must take the lead if Denmark is to reach our goal of being the most ambitious country in the world in terms of organic production," said Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Dan Jørgensen.
"In our Organic plan for Denmark we are strengthening the collaboration between the local and regional authorities and various ministries through a series of new initiatives. Among them are a mutual commitment to have more organic products on the menus at canteens, hospitals and nurseries."
DKK 400 million and 67 concrete initiatives will contribute to reaching the government's target of doubling the area devoted to organic agricultural production in 2020. The government supports organic production through a number of initiatives involving several government departments.
The Ministry of Defence is starting a pilot project to increase the use of organic products in the armed forces' canteens and spread organic products in its establishments in Eastern Denmark. In Western Denmark, organics already account for a minimum of 40 per cent of products in the armed forces' canteens.
"About 1.1 million meals are served at the armed forces' canteens each year," said Minister of Defence Nicolai Wammen.
"It makes a difference when we have a demand for organic and healthy food. I am therefore pleased that we are raising the organic bar quite a lot through this new action plan."
The Ministry of the Environment is in the process of changing a many of the areas that it administers to organic production. This includes proactive work to find organic producers to lease the areas, and a focus on faster approval of special stable and breeding systems at organic producers.
"We must make it easier to become an organic producer," said Minister of the Environment Kirsten Brosbøl.
"We are therefore finding ways of dealing with the challenges facing organic pig producers. In a new initiative we will introduce longer contract periods for private farmers as this will help ensure the possibilities such farmers have for changing their land to organic production."
Getting knowledge about sustainability starts at schools and organics is in focus in many courses at various educational levels. The Ministry of Education is therefore also contributing to the joint efforts.
"We want to raise the level of consciousness that children and young people have about organics, and through the ongoing educational reform we are improving education in organic farming and production in science classes and in the new classes about food," said Minister of Education Christine Antorini.
"We also want to strengthen the awareness about organics in further education and we have therefore started a dialogue with the advisory committees for agricultural training to strengthen their focus on organic production."
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