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IFOAM warns of ‘backsliding’ on organic targets as ambition gap emerges 

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IFOAM Organics Europe has warned of a worrying gap between the EU’s 25%-organic-by-2030 target and the limited ambition of some Member States towards meeting it. 

This week, the group called on the European Commission to ensure that Member States review their draft CAP 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. 

Illogical and unfair
Jan Plagge, IFOAM Organics Europe president 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.” 

“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”

Plagge added: “Despite the disappointing deal on the CAP Strategic Plans Regulation, that will be voted next week, 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. Increased support to organic farming is a smart public policy tool to ensure that the next CAP delivers on its promises and objectives.” 

Backsliding
IFOAM highlights the “especially worrying” situation in large countries like France, where it says current draft measures would constitute a “backsliding compared to the current CAP”. 

It suggests that targets for organic land in some other Member States are not ambitious enough compared to business as usual growth trends. It cites as an example Austria, the leading EU country in terms of share of organic land, which “only set a 30% target for 2030 (when it is already at 26% today) and decided to merge the biodiversity and organic farming measures, which will generate a decrease of the basic premium for organic farming practices”. And it points out that in some countries (Spain, Italy, Lithuania and Finland among them), organic farmers associations are not even involved in the official consultation process on the CAP SP. 

On the positive side, it says, “a few countries have set clear national targets and realistic budgets and measures to reach them… (as in the case of) Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, and Hungary”.

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