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Slovenia: Grains and Fruit Dominate the Organic Market

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

In 2004, there were 27 processors registered in the organic inspection system. Organic food processing /manufacturing started to develop only a few years ago in Slovenia. There has been a lack of Slovenian organic products - raw materials - so most processors depend on imports (cereals, soy beans, etc.). The organic provision is slowly improving in the cereals category. Organic food processing first started on the farms themselves, where a few of them developed quite a large amount of processing (bread and bakery products - see picture). However, the major part is still small-scale processing on family farms.

The main organic processor is Žito Prehrambena industrija, which is one of the largest Slovenian companies in cereals, milled products, bread and pasta. Žito has an organic line that makes up only a small share of their total production, but is large compared with other processors. The organic raw materials are mostly imported from Austria. Žito produces the following cereal products: whole grains, flakes, flour, organic muesli, seeds (flax, sunflower, pumpkin) and pulses (lentils, chickpea).


The Organic farm Zel is a vegetable processing plant, producing pickled vegetables (beetroot, cucumbers, peppers), sauerkraut, pickled turnip ("sauer-turnip") and grape juice. All products are organic; raw materials come partly from their own production, but mostly from other organic farms.

Tofu and various other soy products are manufactured by a company called Fastram d.o.o., and dairy products from cow's milk in the organic dairy company Èadrg.


In spite of better availability of organic meat, the meat processing/packaging sector is not very developed. Celjske mesnine deals in meat packaging. In general there is no great demand for organic meat by the average organic consumer. Due to an almost complete lack of information and promotion of organic meat, the demand is very low. The processors who entered the organic market sector expected a better response from consumers. On the other hand, they were not ready to invest in developing the market.


Slovenia has an agricultural area of 785,000 hectares (1998), which is 39 % of the total area. In comparison with other central and eastern European countries, the macroeconomic importance of agriculture is relatively low. The agricultural sector accounts for 6 % of total employment. The share of the gross domestic product (GDP) from agriculture is less than 4 % and is declining. However, the economic importance of agriculture is higher than these data indicate as it is an important developmental, social and political factor. Natural conditions in Slovenia are relatively disadvantageous for agriculture. Approximately 50 % of the total land surface is covered by forest. Over 70 % of the farmland is classified as less favoured areas; most of it is grassland, and the proportion of arable land is relatively low. Plant production meets the needs of animal rearing: maize (corn and silage) is grown on over 40 % of the arable land. Sugar beet and hops are important industrial crops for export. Viticulture and orchards are traditional. The most important fruit is apples. Slovenia is a net importer of agricultural and food products. For the most part, it imports cereals, sugar and pork. It exports hops, quality wine, beer, beef and meat products.


At the end of 2004 1,568 organic farms, which is equivalent to 2 % of all Slovenian farms, had an area of about 23,032 ha (4.7 % of the total agricultural area). This area is composed of 91 % permanent grassland, 7 % arable land, 1.5 % orchards, 0.4 % horticulture and 0.2 % viticulture.


Organic farms are distributed throughout the country, with the exception of the far north-east region Prekmurje, where organic farming has not yet developed. Organic farms in Slovenia are generally not specialised; they are mixed, combining animal husbandry and plant production. Animal husbandry, mostly cattle keeping and lately also sheep (picture), prevails in the north-western alpine regions and in the hilly regions of which most of the country is composed. In the north-east, south-west (Karst coastal region) and south-east regions, there are some organic vineyards, as well as more sheep and goat rearing. Sheep rearing has also expanded to the Kocevska region (central southern Slovenia). Orchards are spread over the whole country. The most important fruit tree is the apple, followed by pear, plum, peach and cherry trees. In most cases, the orchards are mature and extensive. From 1998 to 2000, there were projects to establish new and more intensive organic orchards. A few farms in the coastal region produce olives.


The success of organic farming will depend on the ability to link organic farming and tourism and on the development of organic food processing. Slovenia has a very attractive and well-preserved natural environment. Several conservation areas are now in the process of being established, which may further the development of organic farming in those areas. However, since Slovenian agriculture is unable to compete with cheaper production from other countries due to the natural conditions and the agricultural structure, organic farming may present an important opportunity to produce high-quality food products primarily for the domestic market and for tourist consumption.


Arable land under organic management:


Total 1,637 ha
cereals 690 ha
vegetables 86 ha

Permanent crops under organic management:


Total 392 ha
fruit 339 ha
olives 4 ha
vineyards 49 ha


Basic Facts about Slovenia


Population 2 million
2,028,423 ha
Capital City Ljubljana
GDP (2004) Euros 26.17 billion
GDP growth (2004) 4.2 %
Unemployment (2004) 6.3 % (acc. ILO methodology)
Agricultural production the most important plant products are maize, wheat, barley, rye, oats, potatoes, beans, hops; regionally important are also fruit production and wine. Animal production: cattle – milk and meat production - pigs, poultry; sheep

Contact data:

Žito Prehrambena industrija d.d.
Address: Šmartinska cesta 154, SI - 1529 Ljubljana
Contact person: Ida Štemberger
Telephone: 00 386 1 5876 100
Fax: 00 386 1 5404 175


Organic farm Zel
Address: Jastrebci 62, SI - 2276 Kog
Contact person: Zvonko Pukšiè
Telephone: 00 386 1 5876 100, 00 386 41 894 339
Fax: 00 386 2 719 62 96


Fastram d.o.o.
Address: Trubarjeva ulica 22, 3270 Laško
Contact person: Ica Sitarovasnik
Telephone: 00 386 3 734 19 50
Fax: 00 386 3 734 19 51



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