Danish Agriculture & Food Council
For a short video introduction of Danish agriculture, please click here
What is important to us?An important and feasible objective is the fostering of a world-class knowledge-based industry through which the global consumer is given access to competitive products of high quality, without having to worry about food safety, animal welfare and exploitation of the environment or workers.
A unique organizational cultureIn Denmark, there is a long tradition of joining associations designed to handle and represent both professional and political interests. This organizational structure entails great efficiency and it has been estimated that the total Danish agricultural production could provide enough food for 15 million people, or times three times the Danish population. Consequently, the export of Danish agricultural products accounted for roughly 60% in 2005.
The farmers’ organizational strategy was initiated back in 1882 by the farmers themselves and today virtually all Danish farmers are organized in associations spanning from local to national level.
Farmers have also organized themselves in cooperatives, where one of the fundamental values – a democratic mentally – has proven to play a key role. In a cooperative, each farmer owns a part of the enterprise. The cooperative sells the farmer’s products and handles purchases on behalf of its members. The scale achieved by this kind of organization and the fact that the production chain remains unbroken enables the cooperatives to be very competitive on the international markets.
Products of high qualityThe dairy company Arla Foods (www.arlafoods.com) and the meat company Danish Crown (www.danishcrown.com) are among the companies who define Danish agricultural products and set very high standards in terms of production and quality. Besides being known for high-quality products, which are sold in all parts of the world, the products of Arla Foods and Danish Crown are often winners of international awards.
Food safetyThrough reliable food safety programs of documentation, traceability and control which include all links in the production chain, Denmark is widely acknowledged as one of the leading nations of the world in the area of food safety. Education plays a key role in maintaining this leading position.
Animal welfareEven though Danish legislation on animal welfare is stricter than the EU provisions, the Danish Agriculture & Food Council is constantly trying to improve animal welfare through various initiatives. Animal welfare concerns of Danish consumers are also contributing to a constant focus on all aspects of animal welfare. Consequently, Danish farmers keep seeking to improve the quality of their production systems.
Protecting the environmentIt is estimated that one third of all transportation in the center of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is by bike and the fact that Denmark is already a world leader in wind energy reflects the general Danish attitude towards the environment.
The environmental consciousness and focus on sustainability are also strong among farmers. An increasing fraction of livestock manure is utilised in the production of biogas together with organic waste from households and industry. Biogas is not only an advantage for the individual farmer as the quality of the manure is improved but also for society as a whole. Among the numerous advantages of biogas are that the renewable energy substitutes fossil fuels and thus reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases at a cost much lower than by most other tools. In addition, the bad odours from spreading manure are reduced, the organic waste from society is utilised for energy and fertilisers and the risk of leaching of nutrients to the aquatic environment is reduced.
The technology utilized in the biogas plants is a result of years of innovative thinking, research and development. Consequently, biogas plants are now considered a very efficient tool to integrate environmental, agricultural and energy policies.
NutritionAs part of the Danish society, the Danish Agriculture & Food Council believes in taking part in a dialogue and informing people about a healthy food and diet. One of the initiatives is the holiday food and nutrition camps for children. The main objective of the camps is to introduce healthy food and physical activities in a recreational, educational and engaging context.