25 years of cultivating RAPSO – a success story

date published 18.11.2019

The Upper Austrian chamber of agriculture and SAATBAU LINZ jointly developed the RAPSO project in order to successfully position rapeseed oil on the market.

In 1993, VOG AG took over the oil mill in Aschach, Upper Austria, with the aim of further developing its competence in food production. With Austria’s integration into the European market and the abolition of customs duties, VOG found itself in a totally new competitive environment. The logical consequences were lower prices for both producers and customers and important repercussions on the markets. VOG had to completely reorient its strategies in order to keep the wheel turning.

The project

The development of the RAPSO project was the foundation stone of the endeavours of SAATBAU LINZ in the contract farming business. As the operator of the oil mill in Aschach, VOG has contributed a success story to the Austrian agriculture and food production sector with RAPSO – an outstanding project in which more than 31,200 farmers in Austria have participated since 1995. More than 500,000 tonnes of RAPSO rapeseeds have been delivered for processing to the oil mill in Aschach. Altogether, more than 162,000 hectares have been contracted since the start of the project, i.e. an average of about 6,500 hectares every year.

In many ways, it seems that this project had anticipated future trends, with food safety and food quality becoming more and more important for consumers and increasing attention being given to these.

SAATBAU ERNTEGUT acts as a broker for contract surfaces of conventionally produced rapeseeds for the production of the high-quality rapeseed oil ‘RAPSO – 100 % reines Rapsöl’.  ‘A leak-proof control chain along the entire production process, starting with seed production, pursued at the stage of contract farming and at the take-over stations and ending at the oil mill, ensures, that RAPSO only contains varieties bred and produced without genetic modification’ Karl FISCHER, chairman of SAAT­BAU LINZ stresses. Contract production relies on selected varieties with a high oil content, special fatty acid compositions as well as competitive yields per hectare. ‘Among other providers, SAATBAU LINZ provides those varieties, which fulfil the quality requirements of VOG. Continuous breeding progress regarding yields, quality and safety under the most diverse conditions in the agricultural practice are our top priority,’ says Karl FISCHER.

Special attention is also given to the RAPSO wildflower strips, which provide a variegated offer of pollen and nectar to the bees in addition to and after the rape flowering period and enrich the biodiversity of our natural environment. Together with the RAPSO signs, those flower strips also constitute the identifying feature of the RAPSO fields and are the visible evidence of a successful cooperation of farmers and food producers for the benefit of the consumers.

RAPSO – well-proven and sustainable

The cultivation surface of rapeseeds has been significantly reduced, but the demand and the importance of rapeseed oil for human nutrition is unbowed. In 2018, the highly nutritious oil with the balanced spectrum of fatty acids was again the most popular edible oil in the German-speaking countries.

It is thanks to VOG that there is a specific product category for rapeseed oil in the edible oil segment. It was the first company to produce an oil exclusively from rapeseeds in the German-speaking countries. RAPSO has been the number one edible oil on the domestic market since 2005 and since 2008, RAPSO has ranked second in this segment in Germany. The export quota is about 74 % with Germany representing the largest RAPSO market.

For 25 years, VOG has been a reliable customer with a sustainable strategy, independent of politics and subsidies and independent also of changes on the markets. One of the basic principles of the project – the creation of added value for all participants – has ensured a long-term partnership along the entire value chain. Today, RAPSO constitutes an example of contract agriculture which has had numerous followers. The motto is: Produce what the market needs, and know what it is used for!

Together for more added value!

RAPSO – FACTS AND FIGURES

• 1994 marks the beginning of the very successful reference project RAPSO.

• 31,200 contract farmers have produced more than 500,000 tonnes of the precious raw material on their farms over the past years.

• With an average cultivation surface of 8.3 hectares and an average yield of 3.2 tonnes/hectare, the RAPSO farmers were able to obtain additional earnings of 1,044 € in 2018 thanks to a premium of € 39.55/tonnes including 13% VAT.

• The contract farmers commit to comply with the required production directives and thereby benefit from both the profitable RAPSO premium and the unique marketing opportunities for their RAPSO rapeseeds.

• 43 experienced trading partners for agricultural products in Austria ensure smooth project handling. With more than 74 RAPSO rapeseed take-over stations for the 2019 yields the majority of the cultivation areas in Upper and Lower Austria as well as the Burgenland are covered.

 

DAVID PAPPENREITER,
Conventional Contract Farming,
SAATBAU LEBENSMITTEL