National approach, supply chains and research are key for the growth of organic agriculture 

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  • Market-driven development of the organic sector 
  • National strategies and short supply chains  
  • Research and innovation to sustain organic farming 

The development of organic agriculture in the EU relies on national strategies, on the support of farmers as well as on investments in supply chains and research, say MEPs.

In the Resolution on an EU action plan for organic agriculture, adopted on Tuesday by 611 votes to 14 and 5 abstentions, MEPs stress that organic farming is a key element for achieving environmental and climate objectives and call for market-driven development of the organic sector, national and regional approaches as well the support to research in organic farming.

Market-driven and supported organic farming

The adopted resolution points out many benefits of organic farming for climate change mitigation, biodiversity and soil protection. While the text stresses that the development and growth of the organic sector must be market-driven, it also calls for a sufficient support of farmers from the Common Agricultural Policy funds.

The role of supply chains and public procurement

The resolution underlines the important role of supply chain for organic agriculture, which should be short, local, seasonal and smart. It therefore calls for investments easing the development of short food chains. Acknowledging the role private sector plays in stimulating demand for organic products, MEPs say that Member States should encourage retail chains to promote organic consumption.

There is not a single farming model that fits all countries and regions, according to the resolution. Member States should thus establish their own national or regional strategies for organic farming. These strategies should include public procurement procedures promoting local supply chains and green public procurement aiming at healthier, more environmentally friendly diet in public institutions and at the reduction of organic products waste.

Research and innovation to sustain the organic farming sector

Research and innovation in livestock production or in ensuring the availability of the necessary protein feed, vitamins and plant protection products are key to the sustainability of the organic farming sector, say MEPs. They therefore encourage a science-based approach and innovations on novel plant nutrient sources as well as research into organic seeds.

Quote

Rapporteur for the report, Simone Schmiedtbauer (EPP, AT), said: “With the EU organic action plan, we make sure that there is a good mix of the right instruments, incentives and sufficient flexibility so that each EU country has tailor-made opportunities to further develop its organic sector individually and bring the European organic vision into its own national or regional organic strategies. The EU Organic Action Plan aims to ensure that organic supply and demand grow side by side in an equal manner. As ultimately, the expansion of organics is not only about climate, environment and animal welfare, but also about economic efficiency for our farmers.”

Background and next steps

The own initiative report on an EU action plan for organic agriculture reacts to the Commission Action plan for the development of organic production from 25 March 2021. In 2024, the Commission should publish a midterm review on the Action plan.