As thousands of farmers protest across Europe, the organic food and farming movement has called for fair prices for both consumers and farmers who adopt greener practices.

Farmers have been protesting in recent weeks over the prices they are paid, EU regulations, fuel prices and cheap food imports.

They are also calling for calling for an end to the EU-Mercosur deal and other free trade agreements (FTAs).

Jan Plagge, president of IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) Organics Europe said: “Organic farmers also suffer from low prices and unfair competition by less ambitious standards, despite delivering many benefits for the environment and society.

“Farmers need fair prices that reflect their production costs, and this is even more true for farmers who take the risk of engaging in more sustainable farming practices such as organic farming.” 

The IFOAM president said that there is also a “risk” of farmers “abandoning organic certification without better support from retailers and policymakers”.

“Farmers who engage in the agroecological transition are not properly remunerated neither by the market nor by the CAP,” he added.

Plagge warned that the concerns about unfair prices and competition shown during the protests should not be misdirected against health and nature protection.

The Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy, Plagge explained, “are critical policies and cannot be blamed as the cause of farmers’ difficulties, since most legal proposals related to agriculture have been blocked, rejected or watered down, and have had zero impact on farmers so far”.

“Nature protection is not directed against farmers, rather other actors in the food supply must share environmental responsibilities instead of burdening farmers,” Plagge said.

He added that the prices paid to organic farmers have gone down in the last two years in several countries and are sometimes equal to prices paid to conventional farmers, while “retailers continue to sell organic products at a premium resulting in higher profit margins while organic farmers are suffering”.