A European organic food and farming movement has warned of “insufficient ambitions” in CAP strategic plans.

IFOAM Organics Europe has published an evaluation of measures and budgets to support organic agriculture in members states’ draft CAP strategic plans.

The analysis, based on organic farmers associations’ feedback across 19 countries, shows that “unless draft national strategic plans are significantly improved in several member states, the new CAP will not contribute to a significant development of organic farming in the EU”.

IFOAM Organics Europe calls on the European Commission to “ensure that member states review their draft strategic plans and come up with better measures and appropriate budgets to boost organic production and demand”, in line with the EU action plan on developing organic farming. 

Organic agriculture contribution to CAP objectives

Jan Plagge, president of IFOAM Organics Europe, warned: “There is a clear gap between the EU’s ambition to reach 25% organic land by 2030 and the weakness of the measures and budgets currently foreseen to develop organic farming in many member states.

“Organic agriculture can contribute to many of the new CAP objectives to protect nature, improve animal welfare, empower farmers, and revitalise rural areas.

“Organic farmers should be rewarded with fairer levels of CAP payments for the benefits they deliver to the environment and society, in line with the principle of public money for public goods.

“It is illogical and unfair that some governments consider giving similar CAP payments to standards much less ambitious than organic farming and with no proven environmental benefits.

“This will not incentivise more farmers to transition to organic.” 

Plagge added that member states still face a “huge responsibility to ensure the next CAP addresses the collapse of our biodiversity and the climate crisis”.

“More conventional farmers should be incentivised to transition to organic farming, and organic farmers should be properly rewarded for the public goods they deliver by producing quality food while protecting nature,” he added.

“Increased support to organic farming is a smart public policy tool to ensure that the next CAP delivers on its promises and objectives.” 

‘Worrying’ situation

IFOAM Organics Europe described the situation as “especially worrying” in large countries like France, where “current draft measures would constitute a backsliding compared to the current CAP”.

“In Germany, organic farmers remain at risk of losing up to €80/ha compared to the current situation due to a perceived double funding issue between eco-schemes and rural development measures. 

“Other member states set up targets for organic land that are not ambitious enough compared to business as usual growth trends.

“In some countries such as Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Finland, organic farmers’ associations are not even involved in the official consultation process on the CAP strategic plans. 

“On the positive side, a few countries have set clear national targets and realistic budgets and measures to reach them. This is the case in Belgium [Wallonia], Croatia, Denmark, and Hungary.”