BioFach 2020 - The future of (organic) milk
21 February 2020 News from the Company
From 12 - 15 February 2020, the organic farm "Savinskaja Niva" of the Ekosem Group presented itself at the "BioFach" trade fair for organic food in Nuremberg.
The organic agriculture of Ekosem-Agrar is now experiencing moderate but significant growth. In addition to the "Savinskaja Niva" organic site, which has been in operation since 2015, a further four farms of the group are in the conversion phase to organic farming – the area under organic cultivation will thus increase fivefold, growing from 6,000 hectares to 34,000 hectares. Ekosem-Agrar is also active in milk production and processing and has been present in several retail chains with its own organic milk since 2019.
In addition to the exhibition program, BioFach offers a large number of specialist events and expert panels on all aspects of the organic food industry every year.
"Too much or too little organic milk: Quo vadis?" - This was the question that industry experts from organic dairies, producers and representatives from the food retail trade discussed about the future and prospects of organic milk.
All participants agreed that simply producing more organic milk would not enough. Stefan Dürr, who started his entrepreneurial career in the 1990s as an organic pioneer in Russia, emphasized: "If we fail to see the cow as a living being, we have no chance as milk producers – not only in the organic sector. In our experience, animal welfare in large herds is in some cases even easier to implement. However, it always depends on the attitude of the company and its employees. Furthermore, the guidelines for organic dairy farming in Russia are partly stricter than in the EU – this reflects the importance that organic farming is gaining in Russia.
Thomas Greim, founder of Dennree and organic farmer on 4,000 hectares since 2015, sees advantages in large farm sizes, regardless of the organizational structure. It depends on the ratio of area to animal. In addition, in large farms it is easier for employees to specialize. On a large farm, you cultivate a landscape, not a field.
Stefan Dürr has a similar view: "With farm sizes like ours, we don't have to cultivate every square meter, we have space for nature conservation areas – that's another advantage.”
The participants also agreed on the conclusion that moderator Bernward Geier, former chairman of IFOAM, drew: "The question is not whether we need more milk, but rather what kind of milk.”
In the panel discussion "Organic farming in Russia: perspectives and challenges" representatives from the government, associations, producers and processors discussed the current situation in Russia at BioFach. Even though there is potential in the export of organic raw materials due to the worldwide demand for Ekosem-Agrar, Stefan Dürr clearly emphasized the importance of the domestic market: "It is important for every (organic) farmer to first develop the regional markets".
Bernward Geier, former chairman of IFOAM, also sees great potential for organic farming in the world's largest land area: "Why burn down the rainforest when we have unused land in Russia?”
But it is not only the optimal production conditions that speak in favour of growth in the Russian market. Oleg Mironenko, chairman of the National Organic Union of Russia, stated that "for a long time now, organic products have been increasingly in demand not only in the big cities but also in smaller towns.”
However, the fact that a lot is developing in Russia in the near future is certainly also due to the organic farming law passed on 1 January 2020, which provides a framework within which the still relatively young market can develop.