Welcome Note April 2024

Dear readers,

Welcome to the April edition of our newsletter. Already in February’s special newsletter, we highlighted European farmers’ grievances that had spilt onto the streets of Europe, catapulting farming to the top of EU policymakers’ agendas with concerns ranging from environmental legislations and unfair competition, to the financial plights of farmers. Despite policymakers meeting some of the farmers’ grievances by backtracking on some environmental legislation, the past weeks saw yet another wave of protests, culminating in Brussels with smoke plumes of burning tires and columns of tractors bringing the city to a halt once more.

While farmers have real concerns, ranging from stark price increases and insufficient financial support, some like to paint the EU Green Deal as the true culprit. However, the real issue that needs addressing is the inadequate remuneration for farmers transitioning to more sustainable agricultural practices under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as well as fair pricing by market actors by market actors throughout the food value chain.

Despite the farmer protests catapulting the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to the top of Europe’s priority list, the Commission’s long-awaited proposal on 15 March to review the CAP and better support farmers has left much to be desired. Rather than addressing their concerns, the proposal disappointingly erodes crucial environmental provisions such as soil cover during sensitive periods, crop rotation and biodiversity features. Adding insult to injury, farmers seeking to transition to sustainable farming practices find little support for their environmental ambitions. Essentially, the Commission is turning its back on farmers’ demands for fair prices and a stronger role in the food supply chain.

With the EU elections on the horizon, politicians from various ideological backgrounds are hastily attempting to secure support from their respective bases, often prioritizing expediency over thorough scrutiny in legislative processes. From shelving a much-needed legislative proposal on pesticide reduction to rushing supposedly democratic decision-making on New Genome Techniques (NGTs) – disregarding critical perspectives. While the legislative file on NGTs is concerning biosafety and consumer choice and disregards A systemic solution to complex issues, the European organic movement appreciated the efforts to maintain transparency requirements and reintegrate traceability measures, which Member States should build on to safeguard farmer’s decisions to reject NGTs.

With the EU elections only months away, we look forward to continue showing how organic is an easy solution to complex challenges like the climate and biodiversity crises and resource dependence.

If you are an IFOAM Organics Europe member, we would also like to point you to our section on debunking common myths about organic, available on our member extranet (for access / access issues, please contact [email protected]). Should any of our visuals and materials in this newsletter catch your eye and you would want to have it translated into your respective language please contact us at [email protected].

As always, we invite you to continue reading to learn more about EU organic. To stay ahead of the curve and learn more about the latest developments relevant to organic and other agroecological practices, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn, X, Facebook and Instagram.

Best wishes,

Thomas Fertl

Board representative of the Interest Group of Organic Farmers*

*Read more about our Board and Interest Groups

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