Understanding the development of organic agriculture in Flanders (Belgium): A discourse analytical approach

Lieve De Cock, Joost Dessein, Michaël De Krom

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


    Despite a fast-growing national consumer market for organic products and active governmental sup-port for organic agriculture, organic production in Flanders has shown little growth since the late 1990s.Our discourse analytical approach offers important insights into the causes of the limited organic pro-duction capacity in Flanders complementary to more common political-institutional or actor-orientedperspectives. Our analysis reveals that for decades, a competition between two mutually exclusive organicfarming discourses has hindered a collaborative effort to contribute to a growth of the organic agricul-tural sector by conventional and organic agricultural communities, agricultural policy makers, and foodmarket actors. Such collaboration however, proves to be necessary to stimulate a substantial growth inorganic production in a region like Flanders (Belgium). Our results suggest that facilitating the accep-tance of non-competitive discourses across agricultural, political and food market stakeholders is vitalto support the development of organic agriculture. By revealing the added value of discourse analysisin clarifying agro-food developments, the paper supports an adoption of multiple research approacheswhen studying dynamics of change in the multi-dimensional fields of agriculture and food provision.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalNJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - Dec-2016


    • B390-plant-breeding
    • Organic agriculture
    • Discursive dynamics
    • Policy
    • Food market


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