Specific problem to be addressed
Despite various measures the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea is presently not decreasing. The eutrophication is primarily caused by excessive nutrient inputs (nitrogen and phosphorus) from specialized farming practices with separation of crop and animal production and linear flows of plant nutrients. Such specialization is still the predominant system in the north and west of the Baltic Sea region (BSR), but also increasing in the new EU countries in the east and south. BERAS calculations show that a conversion to a specialized agriculture to a level like Sweden and Finland in the whole BSR would increase the total nitrogen load with more than 50 % to the Baltic Sea. Also load of phosphorus and pesticides would increase.
Addressing the problem in broad terms the challenge is twofold:
- Reducing the intensive, specialized agriculture in the north and west.
- Present realistic alternatives to the intensive, specialized agriculture for the development in the east and west.
Organic agriculture advice exists, but is too narrow in its approach and not strategically focused on pollution effects. A BERAS specific farm advice with a whole food chain perspective is needed.
The objective of the BERAS Implementation project is to realize the Baltic Sea Action Plan, EU Water Framework Directive and EU Marin Strategy Framework Directive through conversion of the food system to effective recycling of nutrients and no use of pesticides in line with BERAS results combined with other known measures in all BSR countries.
Recycling and sustainable use of resources will be strengthened through involving the whole food chain from farmer to consumer on a local and regional scale that also contributes to rural development.
Exchange and building of ecological competence will be realized in the whole food chain with a focus on market driven development of the ecological sector. Conversion process will be driven by:
- Increasing market demand through education of private and institutional consumers about “Diet for a clean Baltic”.
- Increasing competence among farmers.
- Introducing techniques and knowledge about ERA to agriculture advisory services, in agricultural authorities.
- Developing agricultural policy instruments to overcome economic barriers for conversion and provide long term economic incentives for low input recycling agriculture in line with Polluter Pay Principle.
Expected results of the project
Ministries and regional and local politicians will be involved in the project through participation in WP activities and as Associated organizations. Four main open public events will be organized in relation with the conferences (see WP 2). The main product in WP4 is a number of political statements endorsed and the project has the aim to give input and have an impact on the output of HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in 2013.
The project is establishing a co-operation of all national Ecological NGOs in the BSR region and Norway. Through this transnational co-operation the agricultural issue in relation to the project aim will be strengthened. Also a co-operation of advisory services in the BSR region will be established. Trough the participation of Rural Network in Sweden the rural networks in all the BSR countries will be activated on issues relevant to the project.
Strengthen ongoing adaptation and implementation of BSAP by developing practical tools for governments, policy makers, and extension services on the local, national and regional level. Show an alternative to high input specialization, increasing in south and east, by conversion examples of low input Ecological Recycling Agriculture. Increase cooperation between authorities, policymakers, associated farmers and environmental organisations and with the project Coalition Clean Baltic.
This is directly connected to the environmental objective of reducing eutrophication which will have a positive impact on marine fauna. Although the project will not directly assess the effect of the activities in the marine environment BERAS Implementation will contribute to this objective in the medium-to-long term.
BSAP National Implementation Plans (NIPs) will be improved if knowledge developed in low input nutrient recycling farming system would be applied. There is a need to reform the nitrate directive for the BSR to a level which can protect the Sea from the too high polluting of today. Results has shown that ERA principles needs to be evaluated for implementation as an essential part of EU legislation, WFD, EU MSD, and Agro environmental Support Schemes within CAP to obtain the accepted goals.
Did you know?
Clover and other leguminous species have the capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen due to their symbiosis with rhizobium bacteria in their root nodules.
The nitrogen fixated in the soil functions as fertilizer for other crops in a crop rotation.
Fixation of nitrogen builds up the humus content in the soil which also has the advantage of reducing it as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere