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Organic farming is an integral part of the agrarian policy of the Czech Republic. Its importance lies not only in the production of quality bio-foodstuffs but also in the way of farming which by its environmentally friendly influence on nature contributes greatly to the preservation of the countryside’s rural character especially in the mountains and foothills of the Czech Republic.
Since the beginning of organic farming in the Czech Republic (dating back to 1990), the Ministry of Agriculture has been participating in financially supporting the foundation of organic farms. In 1993 in cooperation with non-governmental organizations (in 1990 the Association of Organic Farmers PRO-BIO was founded) Methodical Instruction for Organic Farming was introduced as a united directive of organic farming in the Czech Republic. Since then the BIO national logo has been used.
The logo has been preserved in the same form up to now. In 1998 government aid for organic farmers was introduced in the form of subsidies for areas registered in the organic farming system and a year later the first controlling organization, KEZ (Organic Farming Control) began operating. In 2001 the Methodical Instruction was substituted by Act No 242/2000 Coll. on organic farming. In the same year the European Commission included the Czech Republic in the List of Third Countries allowing free access of bio-products and bio-foodstuffs of Czech origin to the markets of EU countries. Hand in hand with the rising number of enterprises, in 2006 the number of Ministry appointed control organizations also increased by two – these being ABCERT AG and BIOCONT CZ, LLC.
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The Ministry of Agriculture is a central authority of state administration for agriculture excepting preservation of agricultural land fund, for water management excepting preservation of natural water accumulation, preservation of water sources and preservation of water quality, and for food industry. It is also a central state authority administrating forests, hunting and gamekeeping and fisheries outside territory of national parks.
The Ministry of Agriculture is also a governmental authority of administration in the matter of stock exchanges of commodities, which organise trading with commodities coming from agricultural and forest industry, further in the matter of veterinary and plant-care, of protection of animals against cruelty, and of protection of rights to new plant varieties and to new breeds of animals.
The Ministry of Agriculture administrates the Czech Agricultural and Food Inspection, the State Veterinary Administration of the Czech republic, the State Board of Plant-Care, the Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture, the Czech breeding inspectorate, and the Czech Inspection for Improvement and Breeding of Farming Animals.
The target of the Ministry is not to plan or to manage agricultural, forest or food production, but to define space within the framework of which our entrepreneurs can act. Meanwhile, the policy of the Ministry of Agriculture is based on agricultural policy of the government and of its official program. Its mission is to build up a competitive agriculture and a food industry capable to sell products in challenging foreign markets, that will not produce any obstacles on our way towards European Union. On the other hand, we also want to conserve cultural landscape in regions where natural conditions do not allow effective agriculture.