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European Research: Key results from the QLIF project now available

The Integrated Project 'Improving quality and safety and reduction of costs in the European organic and low input supply chains' QLIF was funded by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. A synthesis of the main results is now available.

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From the QLIF project - 'Improving quality and safety and reduction of costs in the European organic and low input supply chains' - an overall synthesis as well as summaries of the results achieved in the frame of its subprojects is available at the project homepage. There results were also presented at the  project's final conference which took place in Antalya, Turkey, fom April 22-25, 2009.

The overall synthesis of the QLIF results  shows:

  • The quality of organic foods is high and matches the expectations of European consumers;
  • Organic foods are safe;
  • Processing of organic commodities is a challenging trend;
  • Several actors were identified that impede an increased consumption of organic and low-input foods:  The main barriers hindering the increase of demand for organic food are insufficient availability, limited range and assortment and high prices or an insufficient perceived price-performance ratio.
  • The scientific output from QLIF is big and the outreach for consumers and producers is highly relevant.

 There are, however, major challenges ahead:

  •  Productivity remains a weakness of organic food chains, affecting the costs and the ecological footprint. This challenge has to be addressed by future research.
  • In addition to soil fertility management, intensified breeding under low-input conditions could probably better exploit effects of genotype x environment interactions on genetic gain in breeding programs, both in organic and low-input crop and livestock systems.
  • To some extent, novel and innovative non-chemical direct treatments, especially for diseases, might also help. Novel farm, food chain and landscape strategies based on diversification by co-operation could increase system productivity and might reduce tradeoffs between economic, ecological and social goals.
  • Sustainable production and consumption will require transparent information and active participation of stakeholders – uncommon for most scientists. Developing markets and changing consumption patterns call for a stronger research focus on processing, packaging, transportation and storage.

One of the results of the project -  that intensified breeding under low-input conditions could help to improve the performance of organic and 'low input' farming systems - is now tackled in the new research project LowInputBreeds, funded under the European Commission's 7th Framework programme. The project homepage will go online during May 2009.

Further information

Project homepage www.qlif.org

Overall summary www.qlif.org/Library/leaflets/folder_0_small.pdf

The folders with the summaries of the results subprojects 1-7

www.qlif.org/Library/leaflets/folder_1_small.pdf

www.qlif.org/Library/leaflets/folder_2_small.pdf

www.qlif.org/Library/leaflets/folder_3_small.pdf

www.qlif.org/Library/leaflets/folder_4_small.pdf

www.qlif.org/Library/leaflets/folder_5_small.pdf

www.qlif.org/Library/leaflets/folder_6_small.pdf

www.qlif.org/Library/leaflets/folder_7_small.pdf

Contact

Professor Carlo Leifert, University of Newcastle (UNEW), UK, Project coordinator

Dr Urs Niggli, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Academic co-ordinator

Related news

April 22-25, 2009: 5th QLIF Congress in Antalya, Turkey

Background: About QLIF

The Integrated Project QualityLowInputFood aims to improve quality, ensure safety and reduce cost along the organic and "low input" food supply chains through research, dissemination and training activities.

The project focuses on increasing value to both consumers and producers using a fork to farm approach.

The project was initiated on March 1, 2004. It is funded by the European Union with a total budget of 18 million Euros.

The research involves thirty-one research institutions, companies and universities throughout Europe and beyond.

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