Collect vital organic farming data, EU Member States urged

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The EU organic movement is calling on Member States to enable systematic data collection on organic agriculture to help the bloc meet the ambitious targets set out in its Farm to Fork strategy. 

The call comes ahead of EU trialogue negotiations on the new Statistics on Agricultural Inputs and Outputs (SAIO) Regulation, due to begin on 3 February. 

The SAIO Regulation will cover statistics on agricultural production, agricultural prices, nutrients, and plant protection products. But the organic sector is warning that the EU Council’s position introduces provisions that would limit the collection of data on organic farming. 

Missed opportunity 
IFOAM Organics Europe says restricting the amount of data collected on organic would be a “missed opportunity” and it is calling on co-legislators to “seize this opportunity to finally integrate organic agriculture in all statistical categories of the SAIO regulation”. 

Jan Plagge, IFOAM Organics Europe president, said: “EU agricultural statistics need to reflect the impetus to reach the target of 25% organic farming in 2030 in the Farm to Fork Strategy and the EU Action Plan for Organic Agriculture. If organic agriculture should represent a quarter of EU agricultural land in 2030, we cannot rely on agricultural statistics that do not take organic agriculture into account.”

Eduardo Cuoco, director of IFOAM Organics Europe, added: “Member States need to provide accurate data to properly monitor progress on the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies’ targets. Given the expected contribution of the organic sector to these targets, it is imperative to create sub-categories on organic farming for each of the statistical categories established by the SAIO Regulation. Furthermore, the future SAIO regulation offers a great opportunity to improve our knowledge on how organic farming contributes to the EU agricultural system. Researchers on organic farming have been asking access to accurate data on organic farming for years.”

Blindfolded on pesticide use 
The availability of organic data is not the only issue at stake in the SAIO Regulation. While the Commission and Parliament proposed significant improvements in data collection on pesticides use, ensuring the availability of accurate and comparable annual data at EU level, the EU Council proposals would seriously weaken these possibilities. Reports from Client Earth, PAN Europe and Global 2000 published today show this. IFOAM Organics Europe says it “joins these NGOs in condemning the retrograde position of the Council, which would make progress towards the 50% pesticide reduction target of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy impossible to measure”. It adds that Member States “should not get away with years of failures in reducing the use of synthetic pesticides by hiding their use and refusing to provide data to the EU institutions”.

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