Ökológiai Mezőgazdasági Kutatóintézet

Helping European agriculture to tackle water and nutrient limitations: New European project started

Read more...An ambitious 5-year project for the future of European agriculture – SolACE – was given an exciting start earlier this year. SolACE, which is funded under the European Union’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, will generate solutions that combine novel crop varieties and management inno¬vations to improve water and nutrient use efficiency across Europe.

European agriculture is challenged by the need to produce more crops. At the same time, it must deal with the reduced availability of fertilisers, in particular nitrogen and phosphorus, combined with reduced or more variable rainfall, and thus reduced water availability. In this context, the SolACE project will identify and test novel solutions to ensure optimum crop productivity under combined water and nutrient stress. 

SolACE will use a wide range of approaches such as on-farm experiments, field trials at experimental stations, and phenotyping platforms throughout the project. 

ÖMKi is the work package co-leader of the co-assessment of novel crop genotypes and management innovations in farmers networks and also responsible for the harmonization of scientific protocols and measurement methods.  In addition, small plot and on-farm experiments will be carried out on potato test plants, for the innovative treatment of low nitrogen and phosphorus associated with water stress. From 2017, we will be testing new, stress-tolerant potato genotypes, microbial inoculants, and crop rotation enriched with legumes in cooperation with Szent István University’s organic experimental farm in Soroksár. 

The findings of SolACE will be disseminated to a range of stakeholders, including farmers and policymakers. The project will promote the engagement of a broad range of stakeholders through a stakeholder forum and stakeholder events, the first one took place this summer. 

The SoLACE project, which will run from May 2017 to April 2022, brings together a consortium of 25 partners from 14 European countries. Partners include farmers and farmers’ organisations, advisory services, cooperatives, logistics providers, scientists, industry professionals, and representatives of civil society and rural areas. SolACE is coordinated by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).

Follow the project and its activities on the SolACE website and Twitter account.  


  • Agrobiota, Germany      
  • Agroscope - Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, Switzerland       
  • AIT - Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Austria      
  • ARVALIS - Institut du végétal, France      
  • CONCER - CON.CER Societa Cooperativa Agricola, Italy      
  • CREA - Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Italy      
  • DCM - De Ceuster Meststoffen NV, Belgium      
  • ECAF - European Conservation Agriculture Federation, Spain      
  • FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Switzerland      
  • INRA - French National Institute for Agricultural Research, France      
  • IT - INRA Transfert, France      
  • JHI - James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom      
  • KU - University of Copenhagen, Denmark      
  • LEAF - Linking Environment And Farming, United Kingdom      
  • ÖMKi - Hungarian Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Hungary      
  • SOLYNTA - Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Het Idee, The Netherlands      
  • SP - Sourcon Padena GmbH, Germany      
  • SLU - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden      
  • SU - Sabancı University, Turkey      
  • SYNGENTA, France      
  • UCL - Université catholique de Louvain, France      
  • UE - University of Évora, Portugal      
  • UHO - University of Hohenheim, Germany      
  • UNEW - University of Newcastle – United Kingdom      
  • UPM - Technical University of Madrid - Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain  


Funding The project SolACE - "Solutions for improving Agroecosystem and Crop Efficiency for water and nutrient use" is supported by the European Union's HORIZON 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement no 727247 and by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) under contract number 17.00094. The opinions expressed and arguments employed in this press release do not necessarily reflect the official views of the European Commission and the Swiss government. Neither the European Commission/SERI nor any person acting behalf of the Commission/SERI is responsible for the use, which might be made of the information provided in this press release.



DiverIMPACTS -Promoting crop diversification in European agriculture


A major 5-year European project ˗ DiverIMPACTS ˗ was recently launched. The project will explore the full potential of diversifying arable cropping systems with the aim to provide improved agricultural productivity, resource efficiency and sustainable value chains.

Read more...Diversification through Rotation, Intercropping, Multiple Cropping, Promoted with Actors and value-Chains towards Sustainability is funded under the European Union´s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 and will demonstrate the benefits of crop diversification. Crop diversification can be achieved by a variety of techniques such as a) growing different crop species on the same land in successive growing seasons (i.e. rotation), b) growing different crop species on the same land within a growing season (i.e. multiple cropping), and c)growing different species in proximity in the same field, (i.e. mixed, row and strip intercropping).

ÖMKi’s task is to collect and analyze the latest European experiences and practices in relation to crop diversification and also, in cooperation with the farmers, new diversification techniques will be tested in a practice-oriented manner.

Furthermore, the project strives to support the removal of barriers to crop diversification, and it will help to promote the uptake of crop diversification at farm, supply chain and territory levels.

Recommendations for policy makers will be elaborated in order to facilitate the coordination of all relevant actors within the value chain.

The project builds on the experience of 10 existing field experiments, which will be used to quantify the impacts of crop diversification. DiverIMPACTS will also work with and support 25 innovation groups in their dynamic processes to develop sustainable value chains characterized by a high level of crop diversification and new market products. The innovation groups include a wide range of actors such as farmers, advisors, processors and scientists.

The project, which is running from 2017 to 2022, is coordinated by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and brings together a broad consortium of 34 partners from 11 European countries. The partnership is comprised of farmers and farmer organisations, advisory services, cooperatives, logistics providers, scientists, industry professionals, and representatives of civil society and rural areas.

Follow the project and its activities on the DiverIMPACTS webpage and Twitter account.


Diversifood Factsheet - Minor Cereals: Einkorn in Hungary

Diversifood Factsheet "Minor Cereals: Einkorn in Hungary" is now available via the following link: link.

The Factsheet discusses the re-introduction of Einkorn wheat varieties and landraces and also presents the potential of turning them into new food products such as beer, bread, biscuits, pasta for the organic market.

Read more...

Emmer and einkorn variety and landrace field day in Nyíregyháza

Emmer and einkorn variety field day was jointly organized by ÖMKi and the Research Institute of Nyíregyháza on 30 June 2017 in Nyíregyháza. Around 40 participants took part in the event, mostly interested growers and researchers, but representatives of commercial and processing companies related to the production of minor cereals also attended.

Read more...The field day was opened by Dr. László Zsombik, director of the Research Institute of Nyíregyháza who welcomed the initiative of the two Institutes. Dr. Dóra Drexler, managing director of ÖMKi, presented the practice-oriented research carried out on organic arable growing fields, highlighing Diversifood, one of the international projects of ÖMKi. The aim of Diversifood is to create as many practical growing and processing experiences as possible about ancient cereals species such as einkorn and emmer varieties and landraces in the frame of domestic organic farming. With practical knowledge, we try to introduce the best varieties and landraces to the wider public; from growers to consumers, with the purpose of returning these underutilized ancient cereals into the general cultivation and food consumption. In the frame of the Diversifood project, ÖMKi, in cooperation with the Research Institute of Nyíregyháza, has been examining the commercial and seed bank varieties of einkorn and emmer for two years now in small plot trials, in certified organic growing fields. During the afternoon field trip, the participants were able to see the plant specialties introduced in the presentations.

LIVESEED Project – Boosting organic seed & plant breeding


1 June 2017 marked the official start of the LIVESEED project which is coordinated by IFOAM EU. The objective of this 4-year project is to improve the performance and sustainability of organic agriculture by boosting organic seed and plant breeding efforts, and increasing the availability of cultivars adapted to organic growing conditions. The international consortium, in which ÖMKi plays a significant role, consists of 35 partners and 14 third linked parties from 18 countries.


The project will help to establish a level playing field in the organic seed market across Europe, improve the competitiveness of the organic seed and breeding sector, and encourage greater use of organic seeds by farmers. LIVESEED will improve guidelines for cultivar testing and strategies for ensuring seed health. It will develop innovative breeding approaches suited for organic farming. Finally, it will investigate socio-economic aspects related to the use and production of organic seed and their interaction with relevant (EU) regulations.


During the kick-off meeting from 19 to 21 June in Leuven all partners gathered to discuss the activities of the first year and how we reach our goal aiming for 100% organic seed by 2037. Main activities in the upcoming months will be state-of the art research on organic seed health, seed availability and derogations in the EU memberstates.  Besides several research tasks, ÖMKi will be responsible for the successful realization of the project’s communication and dissemination strategy.


Follow the project and its activities on Twitter and Facebook. The official homepage with detailed information will follows shortly.

Expert Day on organic growing fields – a report

Read more...The ÖMKi organized Expert Day took place on March 29, 2017 in Mezőberény, in the vicinity of which are found several organic growers. Around 50 participants took part. The event, which was opened by ÖMKi director Dr Dóra Drexler, was attended by representatives of growers, integrators and retailers related to organic farming. Peter Hertelendy, an expert on plant protection, presented his experiences over the last few years protecting plants and the utmost important defining prevention in organic farming.He went into detail about crop rotation, soil tillage, species selection and the role of agro-techniques in plant-health. Cereal production, for example, leaves chaff on the soil surface that affects not only on its own soil table, but also on neighboring soils, which can endanger the coming year’s cereal prospects, which untilled soil and the imperfect stem-crushing only increase. Experts are well aware of the harmful effects pentosan produces, while at the same time diseases caused by pathogens are more and more common, like the symptoms (fading, staining) that appear on leaves in early spring, which is often linked to the state of enzyme shortage caused by the lack of micro-nutrients. A species’s susceptibility to or resilience against diseases requires constant watch because of new pathogen races appearing year after year, as could have been seen in the case of the yellowrust-infection last growing season. When talking about cereal crop rotations, the danger of blight rises, while in corn crop-rotation the danger of fusarium infestations increase, especially in the case of spring wheat. The presenter also called attention to the fact that toxin quantity is rarely connected to the extent of the infection. On the topic of harmful organisms, it has also come up that the soil reclamation plants containing brassica (canola, mustard) have a part in maintaining the psylloidea, which presents potential danger to the neighboring table. Protection against this can be incorporating it in time and nursing the stubble. In the last few years the common vole has been an increasing problem, whereas putting up 2-3 m high T-trees (4-6/ha) can be a way to counteract them.


BIOFACH and VIVANESS 2017 in the spirit of innovation and responsibility

Read more...The world’s largest annually organized organic trade fair, BIOFACH, took place February 15-18. Hailing from 88 countries, 2,785 exhibitors welcomed more than 50,000 interested visitors. Germany, dubbed country of the year, inspired the international bio-sector with its moto: “the spirit of innovation and responsibility”, as well as bringing special pavilions and atmosphere to the buzzing fair.

ÖMKi organized the sixth Central and East European organic branch section, for which this year’s main theme was the possibilities of acquisitions from the region’s countries. The presentations began with Ukranian Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry’s vice-minister, Olga Trofimtseva, followed by Michal Rzytki from Poland’s Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, Andrea Hrabalová from the Czech Bioinstitut, Toralf Richter of FiBL Ukraine’s organic marketing development project team, who was then followed by Dóra Dexler from ÖMKi. The event was moderated by the Swiss president of FiBL, Prof. Dr. Urs Niggli. The more than 40 international people in the audience showed great interest in the region’s organic farming development and market possibilities. The summary of the presentations in English can be downloaded here. The slides of the presentations can be accessed here: CZ, UA, HU, PL

FiBL and IFOAM EU again produced a common publication this year, a volume that contained global statistics on organic farming. Follow this link to download the publication: The world of organic agriculture. The work shows how the European market for organic goods grew by 13% in 2015. Land devoted to organic growing also grew – albeit proportionately less than the market growth – in the European Union: agricultural land devoted to organic production was 6.2% of the total. The largest proportion of land-use for organic production by country was once again Lichtenstein (30.2%), Austria (21.3%) and Sweden (16.9%).

Hungarian exhibitors were more numerous than ever before and their displays were more attractive than in past exhibitions. AMC organized the event, with 16 Hungarian companies participating in the community booth. Just a few of the Hungarian organic products worth mentioning are organic mushrooms, millet ball products, pasta, herbs, fruit juice and cold-pressed oils. The palette is fortunately becoming more colorful!

The next BIOFACH will take place on February 14-17, 2018.

‘The state of organic farming in Hungary - Where do we stand on the road to sustainability?’ Conference summary

A conference on organic farming organized by ÖMKi and Szent István University was visited by local and international leading experts on organic farming, advocacy organizations, policy makers, researchers and educators to discuss the latest developments in the sector, current challenges and the practical responses to them.


The following is a summary of the most important ideas heard at the plenary session:

·      Dr. Sándor Fazekas, Minister of Agriculture, in his opening speech said that since the opening of the VP organic support at the end of 2015, the area of local organic farming has grown significantly: from about 125,000 ha to 200,000 ha. The number of farmers involved in ecological farming has also doubled and now exceeds 3,000. He stressed that national agricultural production must adapt to the consumers’ expectations. Quality, GMO-free, untarnished foodstuffs are needed. Organic products meet all of these criteria.

·      The presentation of Prof. Dr. Urs Niggli, Director of FiBL revealed that the global trends in organic farming are also positive. Over the past 10 years, the retail market for organic produce has grown about 150% around the world. Demand is rising faster than the production area, which during the same period increased by 75%. It is important to keep up with the growing consumer demand, since this is key to the sector’s credibility.