Topic: Is Czech organic sector fit for the new framework Organic 3.0?
Czech organic sector has been established right after the collapse of the communist regime in 1990. During the three decades of its existence it has gone through several stages of development. Our study presumes that the historical development as such has been imprinted in current state and functioning of the organic agriculture.
Main aim of this work is to identify and describe development stages, milestones and key factors that have shaped the origins and further growth of the organic sector in the Czech Republic. The findings draw on a long-term research project investigating history (1990-2015) of the organic sector from the diachronic perspective. The basic periodization shows the following.
In the first stage (1990-1992) the organic sector originated as a negative response to socialist agriculture and sought a new “alternative” approach to farming. This radical transitional stage was followed by a transformation period (1993-1998), during which the government ceased support for organic farms and the sector stalled. In the third period (1998-2004) the organic sector started to grow again, with development of the sector mainly driven by changes in public policies that started to follow European trends. During this period, national subsidies for organic farmers were renewed. An important milestone for the new development of the sector was the year 2004, when the Czech Republic joined the EU and the CAP started to be implemented, which resulted in continuous growth of the sector in the following period (2004-2009). After the year 2010, the rapid quantitative growth of the sector stops. Development of the sector has been mainly driven by consumer interest in food quality, therefore we talk about the period of stabilization.
Organic sector in the Czech Republic has grown into the state that it includes strongly competitive relationship with conventional/large scale farming, high regional differentiation, low support of general public for organic quality, high sensitivity of farmers to financial subsidies, difficult cooperation between the proponents of organic sector and other alternative food networks’ initiatives, and a lack of unifying vision for a future development of the sector. Findings of the study are supposed to facilitate understanding the limits and potentials for further transformation of the Czech organic sector – towards the framework Organic 3.0.