The European Commission recently published two new strategies: the Biodiversity Strategy and the Farm to Fork (F2F). The two strategies are mutually reinforcing, bringing together nature, farmers, business and consumers for jointly working towards a competitively sustainable future, according to the EC.
One of the key targets in the Farm to Fork strategy to transform EU agriculture, is the goal to promote organic food and farming to 25% in 2030. This ambition is highly welcomed by the European Organic Processing and Trade Association OPTA and IFOAM EU.
OPTA’s President Stefan Hipp welcomes the launched Farm to Fork strategy. ‘We all know that we have to enhance our relationship with nature to fight climate change and restore biodiversity, quality of water and soil fertility. The organic sector has been fighting for that purposes for many years. I think for all pioneers in organic farming, processing and trading this Farm to Fork strategy is a recognition of the contribution they bring to the tables and plates across Europe.’
At the moment, the organic agriculture in the EU has a share of 8 to 9% of the total
agricultural surface. Extension to 25% in ten years requires an annual growth of 11%. In
some countries, like Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden the level of 25% is in reach and larger countries like Germany, France, Italy and France are already at or above the level of 10%. But in many other countries the organic agriculture is quite behind.
The organic agriculture in the EU has a share of 8 to 9% of the total agricultural surface
Stefan Hipp says thtat ‘The aim of 25% organic in 2030 is the right ambition, but it will require means to establish it. The financial support for agriculture in the EU has to be adequately transformed for organic and sustainable agriculture and production. And the market for organic products has to be enlarged and stimulated in different directions at the same time. The plan to increase the share of organic products in public communal restaurants and canteens is a good start. OPTA with its very experienced organic companies will contribute to establish the aims of the Farm to Fork strategy as much as possible.’
OPTA members source, process, and trade organic raw materials all over the EU. Therefore, OPTA also supports that the European Commission really wants to push back the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture and enlarge the surface of protected nature from 20 to 30% of the total EU surface.
IFOAM EU welcomes the EU Biodiversity and Farm to Fork (F2F) strategies and the target to reach 25% organic land in Europe by 2030, as well as measures to boost the demand for organic products through promotion schemes and green public procurements.
Jan Plagge, IFOAM EU President, stated: “Proposing an EU target for organic land is a landmark decision that puts organic farming at the core of a transition of European agriculture towards agroecology. Organic farming is a successful economic model for farmers with proven benefits for the environment. Making it a cornerstone of a future EU sustainable food system is the right decision.” He continued: “We need to transform EU agriculture if we want to address the climate and biodiversity crisis and make our farming systems more resilient. The F2F strategy provides EU citizens with a clear vision for the future of our food system.”
“However, the objectives of the F2F and EU Biodiversity strategies will only be reachable if they are fully taken into account in the negotiations of the ongoing Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. We must not make the mistake of using Covid-19 as an excuse to continue a backward-looking agricultural policy”, warned Jan Plagge. “This is why the organic movement calls on the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission to fully integrate the objectives of the F2F and Biodiversity strategies into the CAP Strategic Plans Regulation, to raise the level of ambition and make the CAP an effective tool to incentivize and help farmers to transition to agroecological and more sustainable practices. The EU needs a new CAP that rewards farmers for their contribution to public goods such as the preservation of our natural resources.”
The EU needs a new CAP that rewards farmers for their contribution to public goods such as the preservation of our natural resources
According to IFOAM EU, reaching 25% of organic land in the EU by 2030 is achievable if the CAP provides the necessary remuneration for the benefits of organic conversion and maintenance through existing rural development policies or innovative tools like eco-schemes. Including demand-side measures like promotion schemes and increasing the share of organic products in schools and hospitals through green public procurement is a smart choice as this push-pull approach has proven successful to increase organic farming in countries like Denmark.
IFOAM EU also welcomes the upcoming publication of an ambitious EU action plan for organic farming that will support land conversion, supply chain development, research and innovation and market development. With a reformed CAP, a solid action plan including quantitative time-bound objectives and a dedicated budget will be a good basis to increase organic land and reach the target for 2030.
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