Agrowill Group AB, one of the largest investors in the agricultural sector in Lithuania, is launching a strategy for organic agricultural production under which all work on land controlled by the company will follow the principles of organic farming. The same principles will also apply to the livestock enterprises of Agrowill. The company has already submitted appropriate applications to Ekoagros, an organic agriculture certification body in Lithuania. After the certification process is completed, Agrowill’s first organic products will appear on the market in 2017. The company has followed the rules of organic farming already since mid-June of this year.
Agrowill Group is planning to designate its all owned and leased farmland areas, a total of about 24 000 hectares, for organic farming.
“The processes that are taking place are the beginning of deeper strategic changes in the operations of Agrowill. One can say that we have just begun to develop infrastructure for a completely new agricultural production model, and I do not mean business alone. It also comprises the rudiments of a new ideology and principles of new relationships with the environment. It is yet too early to speak of exact long-term goals, and especially of the tactics. We understand very well that Agrowill will face a difficult period of change in the coming years. So what we have to do is mobilising ourselves and working with patience,” commented Kęstutis Juščius, Board Chairman of Agrowill Group.
Changes towards environmentally-friendly and sustainable organic agriculture will not only bring the production processes closer to the application of the most recent scientific knowledge in practice but they are also expected to encourage other agricultural market participants to make an active contribution to the sustainable use of land and water bodies in Lithuania.
Our priority is the widest possible choice and availability of natural and chemically unaffected food products and the sustainable use of land in Lithuania. That is why we have set the development of organic farming as our priority.
The certification process for crops and livestock carried out by Ekoagros should end in October of this year. Following the certification of the crops in response to the applications, the Group will become eligible to receive payments for organic farming which, in accordance with the European Union and national rules, are used to compensate any harvest reductions due to the non-use of chemical fertilisers and additives in protection products. The first organic products are to appear already next year. Under the existing procedure, however, in 2016 such products will yet be regarded as products of the transitional period, while the products of 2017 will be fully organic.
The average growth rate of the EU market of organic food products has been 6% per year. In 2014, the market turnover amounted to about EUR 25 billion. The consumption of such products in the Scandinavian countries has been increasing particularly rapidly, or by 10% annually.
“Our aim is to sell our organic products on the Baltic and Scandinavian as well as Polish and German markets from 2017”, noted Mr. Juščius.