The European Commission officially proposes a target to increase organic farming in the EU to 25% by 2030, in their just published Farm to Fork strategy and Biodiversity strategy.
This is a major political achievement that makes organic farming a central element of the new European vision for sustainable food systems, and that will help to convince national governments to provide adequate support to develop organic at the national level. IFOAM EU released a statement welcoming this decision.
Among other things, the F2F documents states: “The market for organic food is set to continue growing and organic farming needs to be further promoted. It has a positive impact on biodiversity, it creates jobs and attracts young farmers. Consumers recognise its value. The legal framework supports the shift to this type of farming, but more needs to be done, and similar shifts need to take place in the oceans and inland waters. In addition to CAP measures, such as eco-schemes, investments and advisory services, and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) measures, the Commission will put forward an Action Plan on organic farming. This will help Member States stimulate both supply and demand for organic products. It will ensure consumer trust and boost demand through promotion campaigns and green public procurement. This approach will help to reach the objective of at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 and a significant increase in organic aquaculture.”
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.”
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.