Dear BIOFACH Visitor, as we step into 2024, let’s pause the crystal ball gazing and rewind to the whirlwind of 2023. A turbulent year globally, with people facing myriad challenges and an air of uncertainty about what lies ahead. The EU’s political landscape witnessed a noticeable shift rightwards, seen in many election results—an echo of the desire for simple answers to complex problems.

the year for organic
©NuernbergMesse / Uwe Niklas

Amidst this backdrop, organic food and farming stood tall, proving its mettle in addressing contemporary issues like climate and biodiversity crises, resource security, and conflicts. A beacon of hope, highlighted during COP28, where over 100 nations formally acknowledged the crucial link between climate and agriculture, paving the way for more sustainable agrifood systems. This, to us, is a resounding mandate for organic food and farming.

At the forefront of Europe’s climate ambitions lies the European Green Deal, a pivotal initiative. Its Farm to Fork (F2F) and Biodiversity strategies clearly recognise organic as a tool to reach the EU’s environmental goals. Setting an ambitious target of achieving 25% organic agriculture by the year 2030, these strategies serve as instrumental vehicles in propelling the agenda of transforming food and farming to aid nature restoration and foster the cultivation of resilient, nutrient-rich soils.

In the Farm to Fork context, there are many opportunities to increase both organic demand and its profile.

Policymakers can set targets for organic in sustainable public procurement (SPP). Take Denmark, for instance, where 90% of school meals already boast organic ingredients, showing many additional economic and health benefits. If you are a policymaker, I invite you to get inspired by sustainable public procurement’s many benefits.

Trade and inter-trade associations, producers groups and agrifood bodies can access the EU’s promotion policies to help sell their farm products in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. These policies offer a big budget to co-finance organic products’ promotion, opening doors to dive into a plethora of activities – public relations, advertising, point-of-sale initiatives, event participation, and social media campaigns.

As we embark on the journey of 2024, a rocky road awaits. But fear not! As the umbrella organisation for organic food and agriculture in Europe, we are your voice in the EU. To get acquainted with our organisation, I extend a warm invitation to our Policy Day at BIOFACH on 13 February. Join us to delve into policy developments and garner support for the organic market in times of crisis.

Together, let’s make 2024 the year for organic.

Warm regards, Jan Plagge, IFOAM Organics Europe’s President

Author: Jan Plagge, IFOAM Organics Europe President

Published in the BIOFACH & VIVANESS 2024 Bio Eco Actual Special Edition.

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Read the BIOFACH & VIVANESS 2024 Bio Eco Actual Special Edition