Press Release
12th August 1996
First international prizes for best organic products to be pre sented by the Danish Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms. Mimi Jacobsen, on Tuesday August 13 at 15:00 at The First Organic World Exhibition in Copenhagen. Press briefing at the Con ference, auditorium 2, at 13:00.

Pioneering Danes open International Conference on Organic Agriculture

In his opening address to the major International Conference on Organic Agriculture in Copenhagen yesterday the Danish Minister of Agriculture gave his full support to organic agriculture and told 1000 conference delegates from 92 countries that Denmark was proud to be a pioneer in the field of ecology.

"We are all aware of the problems associated with modern, intensive agriculture. A priority of the Danish government is to limit these problems and to promote ecologically sustainable solutions. In this context it is important to underline that agricultural production must be economically and environmentally sustainable. The agricultural policy of the European Union and the International Agreement on World Trade is market oriented. Agricultural policies must, however, take more account of the natural environment and animal ethics", said the Danish Minister of Agriculture, Mr Henrik Dam Kristensen, when opening the International Conference on Organic Agriculture in Copenhagen yesterday.

"Organic agriculture does not use pesticides", he emphasised. "This means that agriculture based on organic principles is less harmful to the environment. I am proud to be able to say that Denmark is the first country in the World to introduce national legislation on organic agriculture. Danish legislation provides for financial subsidies for organic farmers and lays down regulations pertaining to production methods and standards of organic produce. These regulations are, of course, based on IFOAM guidelines."

IFOAM, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, is hosting the organic conference, the 11th in succession. The first IFOAM conference was held in Switzerland in 1977. For the first time an organic wrold exhibition is being held in conjunction with the IFOAM conference. The Danish Ministry of Agriculture has granted DKK 4.2 million to the conference. Chairman of the Danish member of IFOAM, The Danish Association for Organic Farming (LJ), Mr Henrik Kloppenborg, praised Denmark's approach to organic agriculture in his welcoming address to conference delegates. "I want to thank our progressive Minister of Agriculture for the financial and political support given by the Ministry of Agriculture to this conference, to the World Organic Exhibition and especially to the promotion of organic farming in Denmark generally. Denmark is supporting organic agriculture at virtually all levels. A major challenge for EU participants in this conference will be to build similar support all over the Community. A European agricultural policy guaranteeing conversion subsidies, green taxes, research and quality control, all promoting conversion to organic farming, is essential. Today EU agricultural subsidy programmes penalise farmers with good crop rotation thereby hindering conversion to organic farming."

The 11th Scientific Conference on Organic Agriculture ends Thursday. The final document will be presented at the closing session in the form of a proposal to the FAOs World Food Summit in Rome, in November. FAO is officially represented at the Copenhagen conference by Dr. Tito E. Contado from the FAOs Sustainable Development Department.

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