IFOAM Organics Europe calls for increased support of organic farming
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The organic food and farming movement analyzed the Common Agricultural Policy 2023-2027 (CAP) of several member states. Their conclusion is that most CAP national Strategic Plans lack ambition and will not contribute to significantly developing organic farming in the EU or to achieving the EU’s targets set in the Farm to Fork Strategy.
Their conclusion is based on organic farmers associations’ feedback across 22 countries and they therefore call on the European Commission 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.
Overall, IFOAM Organics Europe criticizes the insufficient ambition and budgets to incentivize more farmers to convert to organic farming, and to reward organic farmers for the public goods they provide. 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.
Reduction of the organic scheme
“There is a clear gap between the EU’s ambition to reach 25 per cent 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 revitalize rural areas, organic farming should be properly supported by member states,” says Jan Plagge, president of IFOAM Organics Europe.
According to the organic food and farming movement, the situation would be especially worrying in large agricultural countries like Spain where the budget set for organic would have 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 per cent of organic farmland would have set a low ambitious target of 30 per cent by 2030 and would have planned a reduction of the organic scheme from 235 Euros per hectare in the previous CAP to 205 Euros in the next one.
Organic farmers at risk of losing money
In France, organic farming would be foreseen to receive the same level of payment under an eco-scheme as other standards such as HVE (so called “High Environmental Value”) which would provide lower environmental benefits and would allow the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and GMOs.
Finally, in Germany, despite a target of 30 per cent organic farmland by 2030, the budget set to increase organic farming would not be enough to achieve this goal. Furthermore, IFOAM Organics Europe states that organic farmers would remain at risk of losing money due to an alleged “double funding” issue between eco-schemes and rural development measures.
Several member states would still not have 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 would have clearly stated that member states should 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) would have 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 per cent of organic farmland but only would have set a 30 per cent target for 2027, or Portugal, which would have reached 18 per cent in 2021 and would have set a target of 19 per cent by 2027.