The cooperative Bio-Bauere-Genossenschaft Lëtzebuerg (BIOG) was founded on 8 October 1988. That is when nine members signed the charter and laid the first stone for a common marketing of organic and biodynamic produce on a regional scale.
Over time, the nine members have become more than thirty. They are not only farmers, but also fruit producers and market gardeners, for example. All of them work in compliance with organic or biodynamic directives and sell their produce either on the farm or, mainly, to BIOG. The condition for inclusion in the cooperative is to become a member of the association Vereenegung fir Bio-Landwirtschaft Lëtzebuerg a.s.b.l.
The foundation of the cooperative was the cornerstone of the OIKOPOLIS group, which would come later. Hence, there rose up around BIOG, among other things, the NATURATA Bio-Marchés and the organic wholesaler BIOGROS, which are gathered under the same roof in the OIKOPOLIS centre in Munsbach. Their common slogan, “fair a kooperativ mat de Bio-Baueren”, is an official profession of faith in favour of a close collaboration between farmers and retailers.
Quality and solidarity
For the members of BIOG, the quality of the farm produce and the solidarity not only between members, but also with other economic partners, are of the utmost importance.
Quality is only possible if it is produced in harmony with nature and the environment. This is why members of BIOG renounce soluble mineral fertilisers and chemical plant-protection products, thus preserving soils, plants and the groundwater table. Genetic engineering is out of the question, and access to green space and nutrition that meets requirements is obligatory for the animals. The absence of colours, flavour enhancers and preservatives also helps to maintain the high level of quality, even in the case of processed organic food.
Solidarity is the prerequisite for collaboration within the cooperative. In a food market mainly dominated by multinational groups, organic producers have everything to gain by joining forces and selling their products through a cooperative like BIOG. In the spirit of the associative economy, the representatives of the cooperative meet regularly with their retail partners and consumers, which allows them to guarantee that everyone will be satisfied – from producer through to the end customers.
Four product groups
The member farming operations are organised according to the following groups of products: cereals, fruit and vegetables, eggs, and milk. The two cheese dairies, on the Kass-Haff farm in Rollingen/Mersch and the Schanck-Haff farm in Hupperdange, belong to the BIOG cooperative, which manages them. The milk produced on both farms is processed into hard cheese, curd cheese and various soft cheeses.
Farmers must join together to be able to negotiate contracts within the value creation chain. Cooperatives and producers’ associations have the task of bringing together farming production. Without mutual agreements, the delivery requirements of certain specialist processors and retailers could not be satisfied, and only the very large specialist farms would survive.