The organic food and farming movement published its assessment of the support for organic farming in draft Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plans 2023-2027 (CAP SPs). The analysis, based on organic farmers associations’ feedback across 22 countries, shows that most draft CAP national Strategic Plans lack ambition and will not contribute to significantly developing organic farming in the EU nor to achieving of the EU’s targets set in the Farm to Fork Strategy.
The new CAP, not ambitious enough
IFOAM Organics Europe calls on the European Commission, which is evaluating the plans, to ensure that Member States have better measures and budgets that could guarantee at least the continued growth of organic production during the next CAP period, in line with the EU Action Plan on developing organic farming.
IFOAM Organics Europe members are concerned with the decrease of a comparative advantage for conversion of conventional farms to organic farming
Overall, IFOAM Organics Europe is very concerned about the insufficient ambition and budgets to incentivise more farmers to convert to organic farming, and to reward organic farmers for the public goods they provide. More specifically, in comparison to the current CAP period (2014-2022), its members are concerned with the decrease of a comparative advantage for conversion of conventional farms to organic farming, compared to incentives to adopt other types of farming practices that are less transformative and provide much less environmental benefits. This alarming situation is mainly due to the lack of environmental ambition of the eco-schemes criteria as well as to issues for organic farmers to combine organic schemes with eco-schemes or agri-environmental and climate measures (AECMs).
A gap between EU’s ambitions and the new CAP’s objectives
Jan Plagge, President of IFOAM Organics Europe warns: «The next CAP 2023-2027 should be a smart public policy tool to increase the support to organic farming and reach the objectives set under the Green Deal, the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. But for now there is a clear gap between the EU’s ambition to reach 25% organic land by 2030 and the weakness of the measures and budgets currently foreseen to develop organic farming in many Member States. As organic agriculture can contribute to many of the new CAP’s objectives to protect nature, improve animal welfare, empower farmers, and revitalise rural areas, organic farming should be properly supported by Member States».
«Member States should make sure that their measures and budgets incentivise more conventional farmers to transition to organic farming», Eduardo Cuoco
Eduardo Cuoco, Director of IFOAM Organics Europe states: «The Commission faces a huge responsibility to ensure it approves CAP national Strategic Plans that address the collapse of our biodiversity and the climate crisis. Member States should make sure that their measures and budgets incentivise more conventional farmers to transition to organic farming, which has proven benefits for biodiversity, the environment and animal welfare. Organic farmers should be rewarded with fairer levels of CAP payments for the benefits they deliver to the environment and society, in line with the principle of public money for public goods».
Concerning situation in several Member States
The situation is especially worrying in large agricultural countries like Spain where the budget set for organic has been drastically cut from EUR 400 million per year under the previous CAP period to EUR 700 million for the whole next CAP period. Austria, which already reached 26% of organic farmland set a low ambitious target of 30% by 2030 and planned a reduction of the organic scheme from EUR 235 per hectare in the previous CAP to EUR 205 in the next one. In France, organic farming is currently foreseen to receive the same level of payment under an eco-scheme as other standards such as HVE (so called “High Environmental Value”) which provides lower environmental benefits and that allow the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and GMOs. Finally, in Germany, despite an ambitious target of 30% organic farmland by 2030, the budget set to boost organic farming will not be enough to achieve this 30% target, and organic farmers remain at risk of losing up money due to an alleged “double funding” issue between Eco-schemes and Rural Development measures.
Several Member States have still not set an official target of organic farmland in their CAP Strategic Plan
Several Member States have still not set an official target of organic farmland in their CAP Strategic Plan (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden) whereas the Commission Implementing Regulation 2021 clearly states that Member States shall provide an explanation of their national contribution to the Unions’ targets set under the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. Other countries (Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Denmark, Hungary, Finland, France, Latvia, Poland, and Portugal) set up targets for organic land that are not ambitious enough compared to business-as-usual growth trends, like in Austria, which already reached 26% of organic farmland but only set a 30% target for 2027, or Portugal, which reached 18% in 2021 and set a target of 19% by 2027.
On 29 June, IFOAM Organics Europe published an estimation of national targets for organic production and the budgets necessary to reach them. The report estimates that the European Union should dedicate 3-5 times the current amount of CAP budget dedicated to conversion and maintenance of organic farming from 2023 onwards. Depending on their potential national target, baseline, and payments rates, in some cases, Member States should dedicate 10 times more national budget to organic support measures.
- Further information available at www.organicseurope.bio
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