The European Commission has today (Thursday, March 25) presented an action plan for the development of organic production.
The action plan is designed to provide the organic sector with “the right tools” to achieve the 25% target. It puts forward 23 actions structured around three axes – boosting consumption; increasing production; and further improving the sustainability of the sector, in order to ensure balanced growth.
Member state action plans
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 26%.
Presently, about 8.5% of the EU’s agricultural area is farmed organically, and the trends show that with the present growth rate, the EU could reach between 15% and 18% by 2030.
While the action plan largely focuses on the “pull effect” of the demand side, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will remain a key tool for supporting the conversion.
To raise awareness of organic production, the commission will organise an annual EU ‘organic day’, as well as awards in the organic food chain, to recognise excellence at all steps of the chain.
The commission will also encourage the development of organic tourism networks through ‘biodistricts’.
The commission also intends to increase the share of research and innovation and dedicate at least 30% of the budget for research and innovation actions in the field of agriculture, forestry and rural areas, to topics specific to or relevant for the organic sector.
The action plan takes into account the results of the public consultation held between September and November 2020, which attracted a total of 840 replies from stakeholders and citizens.
It is an initiative announced in the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, published in May 2020. These two strategies were presented in the context of the European Green Deal, to enable the transition to sustainable food systems and to tackle the key drivers of biodiversity loss.
Member states are invited to set national values for this target in their CAP plans.