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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Knowledge Networks in Organic Fruit Production across Europe: A Survey Study

Malusa, Eligio; Furmanczyk, Ewa M.; Tartanus, Malgorzata; Brouwer, Gerjan; Parveaud, Claude-Eric; Warlop, Francois; Kelderer, Markus; Kienzle, Jutta; Marin, Evelyne Alcazar; Dekker, Teun; Vavra, Radek; Verrastro, Vincenzo; Pedersen, Hanne Lindhard; Boutry, Clemence; Friedli, Michael; Schlueter, Marco


Limited data regarding the resources and methods used by organic fruit growers to learn about production practices are available, even though this information is crucial to improving the efficacy of knowledge transfer. Therefore, a survey to gain information from knowledge networks dealing with organic fruit production about their structural organisation, tasks and methods of communication was carried out in twenty-one countries from Europe and the Mediterranean basin. A total of 56 networks representing about 42,500 professionals were identified as a result of the survey. The vast majority of them were only active at the regional or national level and were composed of farmers, advisors and researchers. About 3/4 of the networks were developing improved strategies for agronomic practices and about half of them were also involved in different knowledge-transfer activities between their members. Personal contact was the most used method to exchange and disseminate information within the networks as well as to elaborate improved strategies. The findings were analysed in view of the methods and practices commonly used to share both explicit (scientific) and implicit (practical) knowledge among practitioners. It was concluded that knowledge networks play an important role in the development of more resilient organic cropping systems, frequently making organic fruit growers the drivers of innovation. Networking for knowledge exchange was considered a process that encourages the active involvement of farmers in experimentation and innovation applying a method of knowledge sharing that is rooted in the very foundation of organic philosophy. Some recommendations and future research were suggested to further foster the development and functioning of networks for knowledge exchange.


pome fruits; stone fruits; citrus; informal knowledge

Published in

2022, volume: 14, number: 5, article number: 2960
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Malusà, Eligio
The National Institute of Horticultural Research, Skierniewice, Poland
Furmanczyk, Eva
The National Institute of Horticultural Research, Skierniewice, Poland
Tartanus, Małgorzata
The National Institute of Horticultural Research, Skierniewice, Poland
Brouwer, Gerjan
Delphy B.V., Wageningen, The Netherlands
Parveaud, Claude-Eric
Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique (GRAB)
Warlop, François
Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique (GRAB)
Kelderer, Markus
Laimburg Research Center
Kienzle, Jutta
Fordergemeinschaft Okologischer Obstbau, Weinsberg, Germany
Alcazar Marin, Evelyne
Asociación ECOVALIA, Sevilla, Spain
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Vavra, Radek
Research and Breeding Institute of Pomology Holovousy
Verrastro, Vincenzo
Centro Internazionale di Alti Studi Agronomici Mediterranei, Valenzano, Italy
Pedersen, Hanne Lindhard
Boutry, Clemence
Forschungsinst Biol Landbau FiBL
Friedli, Michael
Forschungsinst Biol Landbau FiBL
Schlueter, Marco
Naturland Verband Okol Landbau eV

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

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