|Italy Organisation Structure|
A feature of the organic movement in Italy is the large number of certifying bodies. Currently there are 16 organizations, the majority of which became established in the last ten years. The four oldest certifying bodies and producers’ associations in Italy are AIAB, which in 1990 was the largest association, grouping together many local and regional grassroots associations; Suolo e Salute, established in 1969; the Biodynamic Association, founded in 1947; and CCPB, established in 1988 as a cooperative consortium of large agricultural cooperatives, processors, and the Coop Italia supermarket chain.
The high competition among the certifying bodies has led to the lowest certification costs in Europe. Another factor is that in 2000 only 15-20% of the certified farmers produced for the organic market. A reason for this is that a large majority of Italy’s new organic farmers converted in order to benefit from public support and have few or no products to sell, being in conversion or too extensive.
In 2000 AIAB, in association with Demeter Italy, ANAB (the Italian Bio Building Association), ACU (a national consumers association) and Banca Etica (Ethical Bank), set up a limited consortium called ICEA. ICEA inherited the AIAB certification system, leaving AIAB to concentrate on the general promotion of organic agriculture, lobbying, research, and training. The AIAB Standard has now become a standard of origin of the products, guaranteeing that all ingredients are Italian.
The organic movement in Italy always aimed for unity to be better represented at the institutional level, but this was very rarely achieved. In 2006 a national umbrella organization was founded, FEDERBIO, which finally represents the full diversity of the Italian organic movement.
Each year more public funds are invested in organic agriculture research, experimentation, extension, dissemination, marketing, and promotion. Finally by the end of 2006 the new government started devoting resources to implement the National Plan for Organic Agriculture. This will possibly bring fresh financial resources to organic research, training, participation from the organic sector, and communication campaigns to the consumers. Support activities are mainly done on the regional level, with different legislative frames and implementing tools. Mostly organic producers associations are involved, either directly (getting and spending resources) or indirectly as a part of the decision process.
Case Studies in Italy
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