The European Commission today approved the European Organic Action Plan 2021-2027. The Plan has the ambition to contribute to the growth of the organic sector and the objective of reaching the EU 25% organic production target by 2030. To achieve this, the budget allocations set and the planned measures are in line with the ambitious objectives.

Large caps land in the Spanish organic market
Specialized Organic Shop, in Barcelona. Photo: Bio Eco Actual

The Plan recognizes organic production as a political tool to transform the reality of agriculture and food consumption in the European Union, with an eye put at meeting the objectives set in the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies. The main goal of the plan is to balance the necessary growth at the production level with a constant and sustained growth in the demand.

The Farm to Fork EU strategy, approved in the spring of 2020, set as one of its main objectives to achieve that 25% of the total European agricultural area is organic by 2030. To achieve this, the EU Member States will have noew the means provided for in the Action Plan.

The Roadmap of the New European Organic Action Plan

  • New financial framework aimed at guaranteeing the organic transition of agri-food production.
  • Dedication of 30% of the budget of the R&D aimed at agriculture, forestry resources and rural areas to finance projects related to the ecological sector.
  • New budgetary allocations dedicated to the promotion of organic agri-food products.
  • Development of national action plans with objectives and actions aimed at the growth of the organic sector: each Member State must develop a national strategy with related actions, clear deadlines and national objectives.
  • Taxation and real cost accounting: carry out a study on the real price of food, including the role of taxation, with a view to developing recommendations.
  • Encourage Member States to support the implementation of bio-districts.
  • Encourage the introduction of products from organic farming in public tenders.
  • The integration of organic products in the minimum mandatory criteria for sustainable public procurement, as part of the legislative proposal on sustainable food systems (2023)

As reported by the European Commission, the Commission itself will publish progress reports every 6 months, including a scoreboard, and present them at specific events, as well as a mid-term review of the action plan in 2024, which will be presented at a high-level conference.

The European Commission will organize an “Organic Day” accross all the EU

The Commission has also reported that it will continuously collect data on the environmental, economic and social benefits of organic farming and communicate it through social networks. It will also regularly conduct consumer awareness surveys on the EU organic logo, the Euro Leaf.

In accordance with the new organic production legislation that will apply on January 1st 2022, the Commission also aims to promote local and small-scale processing. This is crucial to ensure organized and efficient supply chains and to ensure that small producers can find a way out for their production.

The European Organic Movement welcomes de new Organic Action Plan

Jan Plagge, President of IFOAM Organics Europe welcomed that “the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies put organic farming at the heart of a transition to sustainable food systems, with a target to reach 25% organic land on average by 2030 and with the publication of a new EU organic action plan, which will mark a new era for the transformation of our food systems towards organic and agroecology”.

He added that “the Commission has put forward concrete steps to boost organic demand such as the €49 million budget for organic within the promotion policies framework as well as the integration of organic products into the minimum mandatory criteria for sustainable public procurement. Given the importance of knowledge in organic food systems and the role that organic practices play in the internalisation of external costs, allocating at least 30% of the Horizon Europe funding for agriculture, forestry and rural areas to topics relevant for the organic sector, as well as carrying out a study on the real price of food and the role of taxation are timely steps forward”.

Jan Plagge added that he already looks forward to the annual EU ‘Organic Day’ which will be an ideal opportunity to take stock of how the organic action plan is performing.

And now it’s Member States Turn

Eduardo Cuoco, director of IFOAM Organics Europe said that “we must not forget the importance of the involvement of national, regional and even local actors for this action plan to be as successful as possible in reaching the 25% organic target and transitioning towards more sustainable food systems. This action plan provides tools for Member States to fully tap into the potential of organic farming to regenerate European agriculture and to reconcile farming and nature. Specifically, involvement beyond the EU level is vital for actions related to public procurement, promotion, the implementation of bio-districts, to name but a few”.

On the CAP, Eduardo Cuoco added that “this action plan now needs to be implemented by Member States through their national CAP strategic plans. Therefore, the organic movement welcomes that the Commission will ensure Member States make the best use of the possibilities offered by the new CAP to support their national organic sector and that farm advisory services will be strengthened.  It is time to properly reward organic farmers as well as conventional farmers transitioning to organic for the benefits they deliver to nature and society, and to properly fund farm advisory systems geared towards organic and other agroecological practices”.

A level-playing field between sustainable organic and cost-efficient production is needed

Bavo van den Idsert, OPTA EU Association Manager said that: “We welcome the demand driven approach and the focus on national organic plans for each EU member states. What we miss are instruments to create a level-playing field between sustainable organic and cost-efficient production that externalizes costs to biodiversity, climate, animal welfare and human health. The polluter principle should be applied to really stimulate sustainable and healthy organic production”.

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