Assessment of the Socio-Economic Impact of Late Blight and State-of-the-Art Management in European Organic Potato Production Systems

L. Tamm, A.B. Smit, M. Hospers, S.R.M. Janssens, J.S. Buurma, J.P. Molgaard, P.E. Laerke, H.H. Hansen, A. Hermans, L. Bodker, C. Bertrand, J. Lambion, M.R. Finckh, C. Schuler, E. Lammerts Van Bueren, T. Ruissen, B.J. Nielsen, S. Solberg, B. Speiser, M.S. WolfeS. Philips, S.J. Wilcoxon, C. Leifert

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


In Europe, late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans, is the most devastating disease affecting organic (and conventional) potato production. Under suitable environmental conditions the disease can spread rapidly and it can cause complete crop loss. The extent of damage due to late blight depends on several factors: in organic production systems these factors include climate, choice of variety, soil management and use of crop protection agents such as copper. Therefore, the extent of economic damage varies between European regions. Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91, amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 473/2002 of 15 March 2002 regulates the use of copper in organic agriculture. Copper has been the single most important control agent in organic late blight control. Therefore, the reduction or an eventual phasing out of copper use will have varying impacts in different regions. This report presents the results of a detailed survey that has been conducted in 7 European countries in the year 2001. It is a subproject of the EU-funded project Blight-MOP (QLRT 31065). The survey investigates legislative, socio-economic and production parameters. The aim of this study was: (i) to obtain an inventory of the current organic potato production techniques, (ii) to assess the impact of a potential ban of copper on yields and viability of organic potato production and (iii) to identify alternative plant protection strategies that are used by organic farmers. This report includes: (i) statistics on yields, farm gate prices, and production techniques, (ii) an analysis offarmer observations and experiences on the extent and impact of late blight epidemics, (iii) an analysis of the farmer¿s motivations, expectations and their assessment of the potential impact of a copper ban. Using multiple linear regression we identified production factors which appear to consistently contribute to production success
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrick, Switzerland
Number of pages109
ISBN (Print)9783906081540
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Publication series

NameFiBL report


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