Political hotspot November 2020 newsletter

The European Commission is set to publish the next European organic action plan (OAP) at the beginning of next year. It has launched a public consultation for stakeholders and the public to give their input, which was open from 4-27 November. Replies to this public consultation are available on the Commission’s website

A comprehensive and well-designed organic action plan could greatly contribute to the development of the organic sector, so it was crucial for the organic movement to reply to this public consultation. 

This is why IFOAM Organics Europe drafted a document with the European organic movement’s suggestions for the next organic action plan.  

As IFOAM Organics Europe, we believe the new OAP should contribute to achieving the 25% organic land target by 2030 and that actions must be specific, ambitious and come with a timeline.  

The European organic movement’s main suggestions  

Green public procurement (GPP) is one of the measures that will contribute to reaching the 25% target. In line with the push-pull approach that has been successful in countries like Denmark, it is essential to ensure that organic production and demand grow in parallel, and policy tools like GPP are of paramount importance. As GPP criteria are not mandatory, a political and needed action would be for the Commission to open a dialogue with Member States to discuss about a mandatory target for organic in GPP. There is a need for mandatory, progressive, sustainable food procurement in all EU schools, kindergartens and other public canteens with at least 20% of products from organic agriculture by 2022; this percentage would increase year after year, reaching 60% by 2030. 

The Commission should further promote the EU logo among EU citizens and consumers. In this context, it is paramount that consumer surveys about organic are followed by action to further raise awareness on the benefits of organic production and farming. Citizens should be more aware of the fact that organic contributes to the internalization of environmental costs. Consumers should be given more information (in quantity and quality) about the EU organic logo and what it stands for, and about the benefits of organic farming for the environment and animal welfare. 

Member States should be encouraged to develop their own national organic action plans with concrete, time-bound actions. As such, the Commission should encourage national organic action plans that cover demand, production and innovation/development in all member states. 

The Commission should support market development capacity in national and regional NGOs by requiring this as part of national organic action plans, and by promoting sharing of best practice in organic market development across member states. 

Related to plant protection products (PPPs), it is necessary to: 

  • Increase the budget for research and innovation for organic agricultural methods in a constant and progressive pace, following the development of the sector, with the aim of providing R&I solutions for plant protection products and alternatives to contentious products, 
  • Ensure that appropriate, proportionate and specific procedures are in place to evaluate and authorise natural substances,  
  • Put forward concrete actions that aim at simplifying the registration of plant protection products (PPPs) suitable for organic,  
  • Promote further harmonisation of the handling of pesticide residue findings, by taking into account the damage that a zero-tolerance approach would do to the organic sector. 

For questions about the European organic movement’s input on the Organic Action Plan, please contact [email protected]. Please note that we prioritise our members’ requests. 

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