In addition to conventional soya production – which grew to more than 70,000 hectares in 2015 – organic soya production has also gotten increased attention the last few years. Although the increase in national land use for production cannot be considered a jump, last year’s growth past 1,000 hectares is significant. According to preliminary estimates, average yield reached about 2 t/ha, with significant distribution depending on the use of intensified harvesting technology and the growing locations fact.
In addition to the demand for organic tofu and other food product content, there is a growing market demand for European produced organic soy in the animal feed sector as well: according to the current regulations, Bio Suisse qualified farmers must replace the current organic soy imported from China – almost 70% of the total content – with European produced organic soy by 2019.
This overall target needs to be met in stages. The current goals are for 40% in 2017 and 70% in 2018, before reaching exclusively European content in 2019. The new standards are based on a lack of confidence from consumers about the origins of organic soy coming from overseas and their environmental considerations.
Consumer demand from Switzerland is driving the growth in European organic soy production. This is also why the Swiss FiBL (Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau) received a commission to develop soy production in East-Central European countries (Hungary, Serbia and Ukraine). ÖMKi has coordinated the national FiBL “Bio Suisse Soy from Europe” project since 2014. In the frame of this project open field and small plot experiments were set up and expert days were organized. On many occasions we made it possible for potential growers and consumers to establish direct connections.