REWE and Naturland support farmers transitioning to organic
German retailer REWE Group has teamed up with Naturland to help farmers transition from conventional to organic farming in order to expand the range of organic fruit and vegetables offered in its stores. According to the retailer, customers are seeking fruit and vegetables that are free of pesticides and have a natural taste. For farmers, however, converting to organic farming is an expensive process, particularly in the first few years.
During this conversion phase, these products will not be labelled ‘organic.’ The fresh produce in the second year of transition will be marketed as Wegbereiter (pioneers). Farmers can refinance part of their conversion costs from the additional revenue generated by the sales of these ‘pioneer’ products.
Bavarian REWE stores have introduced the first Wegbereiter products, sourced from the Kügel asparagus farm in Abensberg. The farm, which grows asparagus and berries, is in the process of converting to organic farming.
Naturland supports farms by offering advice throughout the conversion phase and responding to farmers’ individual questions and concerns. In addition, Naturland ensures compliance with the standards from day one.
“If we as a society want to make a sustainable contribution to ecological transformation, we have to support farms willing to convert during the economically difficult phase,” said Stephan Weist, purchasing manager for fruit and vegetables and flowers at REWE.