The consumer often finds itself wanting to buy organic products that are locally produced. If such products are not available, or not affordable to the consumer, the choice turns into choosing between organic and local. In this situation, our understanding of ’local’ becomes critical. This report takes a closer look at whether Swedish organic products are more or less dependent on imported agriculture inputs than conventional. The conclusion is that Swedish organic agriculture is on average less dependent on imported inputs, compared to Swedish conventional agriculture.
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One of the basic ideas behind organic agriculture is to produce good food, using local resources. As inputs into the conventional agricultural system typically are not local, they will leave an ecological foot print elsewhere. To compare to what extent organic and conventional products are depending on local or remote resources, this report compares what share of the farm’s revenue that is used to buy imported inputs. In other words: how much of a krona that the consumer spends in believing that the product is ’local’ is actually passed on to over seas production of inputs? The report also investigates whether the stricter standards of KRAV leads to a difference in terms of self sufficiency at farm level.
The report finds that there are big differences between type of production and between crops, but in general organic is found to be considerably more self sufficient, or local, than conventional production. For oats, for example 40-46% of the revenue in conventional crop production is passed on to buy imported inputs. Organic production passes on between 8 and 10% to imports. For tomatoes, the difference is nearly insignificant as conventional production passes on between 14 and 30% of the revenue, while organic production sends 11 to 27% over seas.
The report contains lots of fascinating data and correlations as well as an extensive methods and sources section. It compares potatoes, wheat, oats, tomatoes and milk in the conditions that prevail in Sweden.
The report is published by Ekomatcentrum and is written by Gunnar Rundgren.
Who should read this report?
This report is interesting to anyone that needs to understand how local our food really is, when you look at northern European agriculture. If Swedish is not your first language, you may want to consider using any online tool for translation. The report is useful if you are:
Marketing organic products in northern Europe
Advocating for organic products
Looking for further facts and sources on how local local food really is.
Table of contents
Summary - organic agriculture is less dependent on imported inputs
How Swedish is organic?
Organic uses local resources
Use of inputs on organic and conventional farms
Other energy sources
Machinery and buildings
Services and other
Changes at system level
Discussion and conclusion
First published 2020-09-11
Latest update 2020-09-11
Number of pages 16
Author Ekomatcentrum, Gunnar Rundgren
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This report is also available as a multi user license!