Organic farming part of EU Commission’s long term vision for rural areas
The European Commission’s new communication A long-term Vision for the EU’s Rural Areas – Towards stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas by 2040 clearly mentions organic and biodistricts as opportunities for rural areas.
To counter challenges that rural areas are facing, like population decline and ageing, the European Commission identifies opportunities in rural areas. The communication rightly identifies the natural resources of rural areas as key defining assets on which to build a sustainable and prosperous future.
It says “When well-managed, rural landscapes covered by forests and natural areas help regulate water flows, capture carbon and air pollutants from the atmosphere, prevent soil erosion and provide ecosystem services. Sustainable farming and forestry management which encompasses environmental, economic and social sustainability, helps safeguard decent work and livelihoods, ecological systems and biodiversity and also enhances climate and risk resilience. Improving the quality of produced output and supporting farmers, foresters and rural entrepreneurs who are the enablers of the transition towards a greener society and economy is essential.”
Organic farming & biodistricts offer opportunities for rural areas
Organic farming is a farming system that offers the ecosystems services mentioned in the Commission’s communication. This is why we’re happy that the Commission clearly mentions organic: “The evolving consumer demand for better quality, more sustainable and healthy food including organic products can generate new opportunities for farmers and the rural economy. The transition towards organic production methods, the development of short supply chains, local processing and innovative products, in line with the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy and the Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production, can contribute to strengthening the role of farmers and increasing their income.”
Moreover, the Commission clearly puts biodistricts forward as opportunity, namely for tourism. This is in line with what we talked about at our session A Long Term Vision for Rural Development at the European Organic Congress.
Why are rural areas important?
The EU’s rural areas are a core part of the European way of life. They are home to 137 million people representing almost 30% of its population and over 80% of its territory, considering all communes and municipalities of Europe with low population size or density. They are widely recognised and valued for food production, management of natural resources, protection of natural landscapes, as well as recreation and tourism. Many of our traditions, festivals and culture are rooted in Europe’s rural areas.
- Watch the Commission’s press conference interventions by Vice-President Dubravka Šuica and Commissioners Janusz Wojciechowski and Elisa Ferreira and the Q&A (in which Commissioner Wojciechowski briefly talks about organic agriculture) on the Long-term vision for rural areas;
- Watch our session A Long Term Vision for Rural Development at the European Organic Congress