Gunnar Á. Gunnarsson, managing director of Tún, a local certification agency for organic production, claims the notion that Icelandic agriculture is clean and unpolluted is a myth and that Iceland is far behind the rest of Europe in organic farming.
“Old romantic patriotism is not enough if we want people to believe that we have the world’s purest agriculture production. For it to be pure, we need recognized farming methods. Otherwise the purity is only a myth,” Gunnarsson told 24 Stundir.
Gunnarsson said demand for organic agriculture products in Iceland is growing while the growing of such products has stagnated. There are only 20 Icelandic organic farmers and their products are sold out early in the fall. Import of organic products is increasing.
According to Gunnarsson, proper education, research and support is needed if organic farming is to grow and thrive in Iceland. “The Icelandic government does not support farmers who want to adopt organic farming methods, which is a matter of course in other European countries.”
“Organic production is not just an issue in agriculture. It is relevant to consumers, trade, environment and health,” Gunnarsson continued. “Here we have a trend of increased use of chemicals and feed enhancers on industrial farms.”
Dr. Ólafur R. Dýrmundsson, National Adviser on Organic Farming and Land Use at the Farmers Association of Iceland, told 24 Stundir authorities are indifferent towards farming.
“Consumers demand healthy food and respect for animals and the environment. They are being deceived when they are told that it is cheaper to spoil the land and treat farm animals poorly through mass production, toxic substances and genetically modified organisms,” Dýrmundsson said.