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B3: Statistical Processes

Principle 7 (Sound Methodology)

Sound statistical methods are a vital contributory factor when it comes to organic market data quality. The OrganicDataNetwork promotes a higher degree of harmonisation of procedures, classifications and definitions among all member organisations.


7.1 For consistency with Eurostat procedures, it is recommended that all organisations engaged in organic market data collection, processing and dissemination should use the standard Classification of Products by Activity (CPA).

7.2 Where harmonisation is not currently possible, definitions and classifications should be clearly stated and publicly available. To enhance transparency and quality of organic market data, the OrganicDataNetwork discourages the use of non-standard, ad hoc classifications by its members.

7.3 Organisations aiming at developing, producing and disseminating organic market data should employ qualified professional staff (statisticians, mathematicians, agricultural economists

7.4 These organisations should provide to their staff continuing professional development including keeping up-to-date with the latest science, attending conferences and workshops, reading the latest research papers and data reports from other institutes/countries. The OrganicDataNetwork provide a forum for this professional development, as detailed in Indicator 3.2.

7.5 Within the OrganicDataNetwork, co-operation with the academic and scientific communities is sought and organised to improve methodology, the effectiveness of the methods implemented and to promote better tools when feasible.

Principle 8 (Appropriate Statistical Procedures)

Organisations engaged in organic market data development, production and dissemination should employ appropriate statistical data collection procedures specifically defined for each data category. Where possible the areas covered should include as a minimum production areas, volumes and values; retail volume and values; catering volume and values; import and export data; and prices at farm level and at retail.


8.1 Even though the definitions and concepts used for administrative purposes are considered acceptable by the ESCP, for what concerns administrative data collected by organic control bodies, the OrganicDataNetwork strongly promotes harmonisation of these concepts and definitions, as well as of classifications, in the way detailed in Indicator 7.1.

8.2 The OrganicDataNetwork recommends the implementation of standardised survey designs, sample selections, and estimation methods for each data type, based on sound methods.

8.3 Organic market data collection, data entry and coding procedures, as well as statistical processing methods employed should be detailed and made publicly available.

8.4 The OrganicDataNetwork will promote the carrying out of regular reviews of statistical procedures used in different countries, conventional agriculture and other realms to identify potentials to revise and improve the current organic market data collection and processing practices.

8.5 Sharing agreements of aggregated data should be considered to allow data to be shared between organisations in a way that protects the privacy of data providers, but allows greater transparency within the organic sector.

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Principle 9 (Non excessive burden on respondents)

Organisations engaged in organic market data development, production and dissemination should ensure that the burden placed upon data providers is not excessive, and that it is commensurate with the relevance of the expected statistical output.


9.1 The range and detail of organic market data collected should be proportionate to the expected relevance for market actors and other users of the information.

9.2 Appropriate information systems should be in place in order to optimise the speed of data collection as well as the quality and transferability of the collected information, by minimising measurement errors.

9.3 Data sharing between organisations engaged in organic market data development, production and dissemination, as detailed in Indicator 8.5, should ensure minimisation of duplicate surveying.

9.4 Multi-use surveys should be considered so that respondents only need to respond to one survey rather than two or three separate surveys, which will use very similar common general information on respondents.

9.5 When possible and feasible, organic market data should be collected from alternative sources other than farmers and market operators, which tend to be over-surveyed.

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Principle 10 (Cost effectiveness)

In order to use limited resources as effectively as possible, standardised solutions should be encouraged for data collection, storage, processing  and dissemination of organic market data.


10.1 Time series data should be collected every year using the same statistical procedures. Revision in data collection procedures should be implemented only after a review and pre-test informed by statistical criteria and after a cost-benefit analysis as detailed in Indicator 3.4. Newly implemented statistical procedures in any case should allow backward-comparability with previously collected data.

10.2 Information and Communication Technology resources should be utilised to improve efficiency in data collection, processing and dissemination. The OrganicDataNetwork promotes the collaborative use of a common electronic database for all EU countries as created during the project lifespan, and subsequently updated and improved in accordance with Indicator 10.1.  In any case, proactive efforts should be made to structure the databases that are used by different organisations in a similar way.

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