Organic Farming in Poland as Example of Organic Farming in CEE Countries - from farm to plate", 25-29 July 2005, Warsaw and Culavia - Pomerania,
ENAOS 2005 - 4th ENAOS Summer Meeting

organised within the framework of the Avalon Network Project financed by

European Commision
Warsaw Agricultural University,
Faculty of Human Nutricion and Consumer Science,
Faculty of Agriculture and Biology
Dutch National Postcode Lottery Ministry of National Education And Sport
Chosen papers on organic farming

Multifunctionality of organic farming

Melinda Mezei
Corvinus University of Hungary, Faculty of Horticultural Science, Department of Management and Marketing


Europe is nowadays facing and has to face a number of problems and critical challenges related to the European agricultural systems and CAP. When CAP was formed (1962) the most important aim was to produce enough food for the citizens of the European Countries. The fundamental aims were increasing the yields, providing adequate quantity of quality product on low price. That is the answer for the enormous amount of direct agricultural subsidies. At that time all other roles of agriculture were hidden behind the production orientation. Farmers consider food production to be their most important function.

In the last decades the negative features have predominated like overproduction the overused and untidy lands, landscape. Europe – we – must change the approach towards the nature, the rural areas. A reasonable answer is organic farming.

What is the mutifunctionality of agriculture?

Throughout history agriculture has played an essential role in the development of rural areas. The European Parliament in Recommendation 1296 (1996) on the European Charter for Rural Areas recited the roles of multifunctional agriculture:

  • guarantee the food safety
  • landscape conservation and maintenance
  • conservation of rural qualities
  • conservation of healthy air, soil, water
  • producing renewable row materials alternatives crops for the industry and energy sector

Food and fodder

Rural tourism

Food security/safety

Rural landscape

Transformation of products

Income by added value

Soil conservation

Biological diversity

Other marketable products

Rural way of living/traditions


Table 15 Outputs of multifunctional agriculture (modified, Huylenbroeck - Durand, 2003)

Which kind of agricultural production is able to gratify these roles the best?

The organic production. Organic farming is geared to maintaining sustainable links between nature and society by the help of it we can continue to use ecosystems to produce food in the future. Organic farming seeks to work with features of natural environment. In essence, it is based on creating good conditions for production through a management policy devised and put into practice by the farmer. The production that is capable of producing high quality, safe food and fodder free from crop protection substrate residues. The way of farming which protects nature, keep the biodiversity. The organic producers take care and use native varieties. They do not aspire to kill all weed, just keep them under the harmful level. Organic farming keeps an eye on diversity of land use, especially on crop rotation. There were just a few evidences why organic farming fulfills all parts of multifunctional agriculture.

Food safety issue is very important nowadays, consumers are confused by the food scandals and distrust in agricultural products. According to a survey half of the European population is distrustful in food. Unrestricted trust is no longer placed in farmers and people called for food safety. This claim means that food do not contain any substances dangerous for human organs. The healthy living areas and nourishment are main compounds of the intention to increasing the living standard. In case of certified organic products there is no need to be afraid, they produce without artificial fertilizers, pesticides and other technological aids that have a life threatening impact on the natural environment. Year by year more and more people choose organic products to be sure of healthy and safe food. But safe food can be produced only on clear and tended lands; therefore organic farming always comes together with environment protection. The nice landscape, the clean air attract the urban people and offers pleasant recreation possibilities. The rural tourism gives added income to the rural population, which – mainly in less favourable areas – can keep the population there. In Europe an annoying phenomena is that people from rural areas move to towns to find job and better living conditions, and the country side become deserted, and elderly people are dominated in rural areas. It is a vicious circle if all the young and educated people move out from their rural regions the region misses the possibility to develop.


Nowadays the requirements against agriculture have changed, the environment protection, the conservation of natural qualities became the significant part of social-economical life. This has lead to multifunctionality of agriculture, which based on sustainability.

Today, the agricultural production units apart from food production has to be ready to handle with other services such as tourism, nature conservation etc to gain subsidies and higher income.


  • Huylenbroeck, G. – Duran, G.: Multifinctional Agriculture, Ashgate, 2003
  • Bohman, M et al: The use and abuse of Multifunctionality. Economic Research Service, 1999
  • Láng, I: A Magyar mezőgazdaság fenntartható fejlődése, In:Kovács, T. A fennytartható mezőgazdaságtól a vidékfejlesztésig. IV. Falukonferencia pp. 40-45., Pécs, MTA, 1997
  • Radics, L. Ökológiai gazdálkodás I., Magyar Mezőgazda Kiadó, 1999



ENOAS Summer Meeting IV: Introduction | Organizers | List of participants | Meeting Plan | Lectures and presentation | Country presentation | Work groups | Excursions / Visits

Organizers; Warsaw Agricultural University (SGGW) | Faculty of Human Nutrition and Consumer Sciences | The Faculty of Agriculture and Biology | Education in organic farming at SGGW | Scientific Association of Agriculture Students - yesterday and today | Scientific Assiociation of Nutrition and Dietetics Students | ENOAS - European Network of Organic Agriculture Students - past, present and future | Avalon Foundation

Organic farming and market in Poland

Country presentations: COLOMBIA - General situation of organic agriculture in Colombia –organic food market in Colombia | HUNGARY - Situation of ecological agriculture in Hungary | ITALY - organic food market | SLOVAKIA – Ecological agriculture | FINLAND - Organic markets in Finland

Reports of visits: BIODYNAMIC FARM, Education Center of R.STEINER Foundation in Prądocin | ROLMIĘS | Bakery SŁODKA | FARM of THE KUJAWSKIS | FARM and MILL of THE BABALSKIS | BIOFOOD

Chosen papers on organic farming: Barriers of conversion into organic production | Barriers of conversion into organic farming | Barriers of conversion into organic farming  | Role of direct sale in organic farming  | Social aspects of organic farming  | Social aspects of organic farming  | Multifunctionality of organic farming in Slovak Republic  | Multifunctionality of organic farming | Multifunctionality of organic farming | Multifunctionality of organic farming  | Multifunctionality of organic farming

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