Political Hotspot June 2024

Ongoing farmers’ protests highlight the need to address concerns about unfair pricing and competition in European agriculture. The objectives laid out in the European Green Deal are essential yet often wrongly blamed for the struggles of farmers, as most environmental legislation was blocked or diluted with minimal impact on farmers to date.

While farming contributes to the climate and biodiversity crises, it can also be part of the solution to them and help revivify rural areas. Organic food and farming are part of the solution:

  1. It is a sector marked by growth and resilience, with nearly 480,000 organic producers across Europe and retail sales reaching €53 billion in Europe;
  2. It offers environmental benefits – such as enhancing biodiversity, sequestering carbon, and fostering soil health; and
  3. It brings substantial socio-economic advantages such as revitalizing rural economies, creating employment, and promoting healthier lifestyles. For instance, the Food and Agriculture Organisation confirmed that a 10% demand shift from conventional to organic farming is expected to result in a net gain of almost 44.000 jobs.

A central question guiding the work of IFOAM Organics Europe has been: How can our food system adapt to and mitigate climate change, support adequate nutrition, and ensure stable livelihoods for farmers?

The EU elections have reinforced our commitment to these queries, leading us to distil our priorities in the EU organic movement’s manifesto. Our vision for an EU with vibrant rural areas and sustainable food systems lists 6 priorities:

  1. Reimagining the Common Agricultural Policy to promote biodiversity & support extensive practices: The next CAP should improve farmers’ conditions, reduce administrative burdens, and align with the European Green Deal to better support organic and other agroecological practices;
  2. Strengthening the economy & the sustainability of food systems through sustainable procurement: Mandatory criteria in public procurement would increase the demand for organic products and promote sustainable food systems;
  3. Improving consumer choice by raising awareness about the true cost of food and promoting organic;
  4. Improving consumer choice by addressing greenwashing: All environmental claims should be substantiated and terms such as “regenerative” should be used without greenwashing. In this context, the methodological choice used to substantiate claims is not only a technical, but also a political decision. The current method put forward for substantiating a claim favours ntensive products and therefore does not support the transition to sustainable food systems;
  5. Encouraging farmer-led innovation by promoting biocontrol: Biocontrol methods should be available as alternatives to synthetic pesticides, with legislative and financial measures to ease their integration into agricultural practices;
  6. Encouraging farmer-led innovation through education, innovation, and knowledge: Knowledge exchange and innovation in organic farming is key and should be supported by robust policies and funding to support educational initiatives and the development of organic farming networks.

IFOAM Organics Europe members are invited to translate the EU organic movement’s manifesto. Links to it and communication materials are available on our: member extranet > hot topics >  EU elections Language matters

If you are an IFOAM Organics Europe member who has trouble accessing our member extranet, please: 

  1. Check that you are not using the extranet in a browser that is already logged in to another SharePoint environment (or use a private browser to login);
  2. Check our extranet login guidelines, including an overview of possible problems and solutions on p. 8;
  3. If that does not work, please reach out to [email protected], including the email address you are using to login and a screenshot of the error message. 
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