German organic farmer concentrates successful on local marketing
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In Germany, where 6% of all farms are organic, Christoph and Beate Leiders are one of many farmers who have chosen to convert from traditional to organic production, as reported by ABC News.They started this process in the late 1990’s very small with 100 seeds. Their farm is located in North Rhine-Westphalia between Bonn and the Dutch border. 23,300 similar farms in total exist in Germany. The food at the Leiders farm is not only produced, but also sold locally. The pigs for instance are slaughtered on the farm and the meat is sold in their small hut shop.
The Leiders have diversified their production throughout the years. Nowadays one of their main bread winners are their organic chickens. The hens live in an open air area corralled by a portable fence. This flexible system allows the farmer to move the pasture on which the chickens are living, on a weekly basis. This type of care comes with a price. Their free range organic chickens are worth 15 Euros per kilogram, which is five times more expensive than the price for conventionally raised chickens. A kilogram of eggs costs €6.50.
Even though the price is higher than the one for conventional eggs, more than 2000 consumers accumulate in front of the Leider's farm shop every week. Indeed the Leiders account for 3 million euros annually. Their personnel has also steadily increased by 10% per year, having now reached 50 employees. This popularity has helped the Leiders to keep expanding their capacities. Having started five years ago with 225 hens per house, nowadays they hold 800 fowls.
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