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Brussels presents plan to boost organic farming

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Brussels presents plan to boost organic farming

organic farming - Photo by Smaack

(BRUSSELS) - A new plan to boost the production and consumption of organic products, presented Thursday by the EU Commission, aims to reach 25 per cent of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030.

Organic production comes with important benefits: organic fields have around 30% more biodiversity, organically farmed animals enjoy a higher degree of animal welfare and take less antibiotics, organic farmers have higher incomes and are more resilient, and consumers know exactly what they are getting thanks to the EU organic logo.

The EU's new Action Plan is designed to provide the already fast growing organic sector the right tools to achieve the 25% target. It puts forward 23 actions structured around 3 axes – boosting consumption, increasing production, and further improving the sustainability of the sector – to ensure a balanced growth of the sector.

The Commission is encouraging Member States to develop national organic action plans to increase their national share of organic farming. There are significant differences between Member States regarding the share of agricultural land currently under organic farming, ranging from 0.5% to over 25%. The national organic action plans will complement the national CAP strategic plans, by setting out measures that go beyond agriculture and what is offered under the CAP.

Agriculture Commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski said that to achieve the target of 25% of organic farming, "we need to ensure that demand drives the growth of the sector while taking into account the significant differences between each Member State's organic sectors." He said the organic Action Plan provides tools and ideas to accompany a " balanced growth of the sector".

Presently, about 8.5% of EU's agricultural area is farmed organically, and the trends show that with the present growth rate, the EU will reach 15-18% by 2030.

The plan puts forward several actions aimed at boosting demand, maintaining consumer trust and bringing organic food closer to citizens. This includes: informing and communicating about organic production, promoting the consumption of organic products, stimulating a greater use of organics in public canteens through public procurement and increasing the distribution of organic products under the EU school scheme.

Beyond the CAP, key tools include organisation of information events and networking for sharing best practices, certification for groups of farmers rather than for individuals, research and innovation, use of blockchain and other technologies to improve traceability increasing market transparency, reinforcing local and small-scale processing, supporting the organisation of the food chain and improving animal nutrition.

The plan also aims to further improve organic farming's performance in terms of sustainability. To achieve this, actions will focus on improving animal welfare, ensuring the availability of organic seeds, reducing the sector's carbon footprint, and minimising the use of plastics, water and energy.

The Action Plan for the development of organic production

Actions to boost organic production - guide

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