OK-Net Arable for more knowledge exchange in organic farming
The complexity of organic farming requires farmers to have a very high level of knowledge and skills. But exchange on organic farming techniques remains limited. OK-Net Arable promotes exchange of knowledge among farmers, farm advisers and scientists with the aim to increase productivity and quality in organic arable cropping all over Europe
OK-Net Arable is coordinated by IFOAM EU and involves 17 partners from 13 countries all over Europe. The project is financed by Horizon 2020, the EU’s main funding instrument for research and innovation. OK-Net Arable is proud to be one of the first four so-called thematic networks funded under the umbrella of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI). This policy instrument aims to foster innovation by connecting farmers and researchers. OK-Net Arable started in March 2015 and will run until February 2018.
OK-Net Arable takes a very innovative approach in that in all stages of the project, farmers play a prominent role. Much more than being asked for advice, farmers contribute to a process of co-creation of knowledge throughout the project. This work is facilitated by the participation of 9 farmer innovation groups.
Knowledge exchange for better farming
Despite substantial growth of organic farming in the EU over the last decade, concerns have been raised whether organic farming is productive enough compared to conventional farming. On the other hand, evidence shows that the more experienced an organic farmer is, the smaller the yield difference with conventional farms. Indeed, organic agriculture works as a complex system which requires a very high level of knowledge. By promoting co-creation and exchange of knowledge, the OK-Net Arable project therefore has significant potential to increase productivity and quality in organic farming.