During the 12th European Organic Congress in Vienna this 25th and 26th September -organized by IFOAM EU and Bio Austria- we interview Ms. Gertraud Grabmann, President of BioAustria, asking her about the current important topics that were discussed around the Congress and the situation of organic in Austria.

Gertraud Grabmann BIO AUSTRIA
Gertraud Grabmann | Picture ©BIO AUSTRIA/Fuchs

How does the European Organic Congress contribute to the sector?

The European Organic Congress is THE place to discuss organic issues in the context of European policies like the Common Agricultural Policy or the EU Regulation on Organic Farming. It is important for the movement to jointly reflect on the current and upcoming challenges in order to actively shape a positive future for organic food and farming.

What is BioAustria doing in relation to the growing demand of society that demands more transparency in labelling and certification of food?

Organic as such is already part of the answer. On top of it BIO AUSTRIA quality is based on our own private standard – which is fully transparent. A download is available on our website for everybody to obtain an exact picture of what it means. Greenpeace has recently awarded the label BIO AUSTRIA and characterized it as “very trustworthy and exceedingly sustainable”.

Our vision is an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable agriculture

In the congress the future of the new strategic plans of the CAP proposed by the European Commission is debated, what is your vision?

Our vision is an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable agriculture. The objective of the CAP needs to be a win-win situation for farmers and consumers resp. society. A key tool to achieve this is a clear dedication of the CAP to money pay for public goods that sustainable agriculture is delivering to the society.

And referring to dishonest practices, such as seed patents, can the organic sector stop these abuses?

Patents on plants and animals are very problematic for farmers and for society. They are a violation of the patent act installing the patent owner as the one to profit. The fight against patents on life is a tough and longlasting one, but I am confident that we will succeed in the end.

Patents on plants and animals are very problematic for farmers and for society

New European Organic Regulation: What will make from this regulation a good or bad deal for the Austrian/European organic sector?

After the adoption of the basic act the implementing rules will be of crucial importance for the overall performance of the organic regulation. We hope for implementing rules to compensate for the weaknesses of the basic act.

More information about BioAustria in www.bio-austria.at

Author: Oriol Urrutia, Co-Editor

Bio Eco Actual, International Organic Newspaper
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