Research strategy of the German Agricultural Research Alliance (DAFA) for the development of the organic farming and food sector in Germany
The Federal Government of Germany regards organic farming as particularly resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable economicactivity. It therefore supports the expansion of organic farming up to 20% of the agricultural area. Against this background, the German Agricultural Research Alliance (DAFA) together with a broad alliance of representatives from business, science, and public policy developed this research strategy in a theme-finding and prioritization process that ran overmore than 2 years. It sets out how German agricultural research can make a substantial contribution to noticeably improving the performance and competitiveness of organic food and farming while at the same time helping the sector meet itsowngoalsandbeanexampleasanespecially sustainable type of economic activity in terms of the four international umbrella organization of the organic world (IFOAM) principles of organic farming (health, environment, fairness, and care). The DAFA recommends that three approaches be pursued in parallel: (1) focusing of research on the most important themes, (2) the establishment of efficient structures for research and funding, and (3) more funding for research on organic farming. The following most important research topics in crops were identified: plant breeding tailored to the need of organic agriculture, plant– microbe and plant–plant interactions, autonomous field micro-robots, alternative control of fungal diseases and management of nutrients, and soil fertility...
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