Review of events
2 October 2020
With crucial CAP negotiations ahead, starting discussions on an EU animal welfare label, and IFOAM Organics Europe’s ongoing work within the Horizon 2020 project on Access to Land, it was time for another workshop of the Interest Group on Organic Farming to exchange information and views, and form a common position of the organic production sector.
The recording of the workshop on CAP, animal welfare label & access to land is available on the member extranet.
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
Kurt Sannen, Chair of IFOAM Organics Europe’s Interest Group for Organic Farmers (IGOF), moderated the first session focused on CAP which started with a presentation by IFOAM Organics Europe’s Policy Officer, Léna Brisset. She reminded participants of the CAP’s governance, gave an overview of the Multiannual Financial Framework and Next Generation EU, as well as of positions of the European Parliament and European Council.
Animal welfare label
Second point on the agenda was the animal welfare label. As the German Presidency is pushing for such a label, Sebastian Mittermaier of NATURLAND, gave a short introduction and showcased the German animal welfare label for pigs. As this is an important topic for the organic movement, IFOAM Organics Europe’s will follow the developments closely and keep its members informed.
Access to Land
The last session started with three short presentations by members on initiatives they are involved in: Land Trust, De Landgenoten, and Parcel. It was followed by an introduction on the Erasmus+ project Innovative Land Strategies, which IFOAM Organics Europe is involved in. One deliverable of this project is a joint policy report, analysing EU policies and giving recommendations. This workshop focused on the indirect effects of CAP on access to land.
On 12-16 October 2020, over 1,600 participants from 46 countries joined the 6th ALGOA Summit “Building Alliances Beyond Asia” which took place virtually together with the inaugural Summit of the Global Alliance of Organic Districts (GAOD).
On 13 October, IFOAM Organics Europe Director, Eduardo Cuoco, participated in the session themed: Framework for Food Systems Transformation. In addition to a keynote speech by Marina Bortoletti from the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) on “Collaborative Frameworks for Food Systems Transformations” and presentations from all over the world, Eduardo presented an overview of the Farm to Fork Strategy. Amongst the topics addressed were the opportunities the 25% organic land target in the Farm to Fork strategy presents, the role of Biodistricts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Farm to Fork’s objectives and IFOAM Organics Europe’s active role in offering organic farming as a political solution to societal problems. Eduardo ended his presentation on a positive note, reminding the participants “Don’t panic, the future is organic!”
On 14 October, Molly Mathews, IFOAM Organics Europe Events and Membership Assistant, took part in the session organised by the Young Organics Global Network on the topic of Local Governance. Representatives from around the world addressed the state of affairs regarding youth and organic farming in their countries. Molly specifically presented the situation for young farmers in Europe and IFOAM Organics Europe’s plans to organise a European Organic Youth Conference in 2021, with the objective of involving more youth in the IFOAM Organics Europe network. Interested in catching up on the topics discussed at the summit? Recordings of all the sessions are available on the IFOAM Asia Facebook page.
15-16 October 2020, online
The European Commission’s first Farm to Fork conference took place on 15–16 October 2020 and focused on how to build sustainable food systems together. This is to be the first of similar annual conferences.
Speakers included Vice-President of the European Commission Timmermans, the Commissioners on Health and Food Safety, Kyriakides, on Agriculture, Wojciechowski, German Agriculture Minister, Klöckner, representative of the European Council, the European Consumers organisation (BEUC), Members of the European Parliament Hazekamp and Dorfmann, Copa-Cogeca, WWF, Arla and the Danish government, to name but a few. The organic movement was represented by Enrico Amico from the cooperative Amico Bio in Italy, Bram Moeskops, IFOAM Organics Europe’s Research and Innovation Manager, Salvatore Basile, President of the International Network of Eco Regions and Jostein Hertwig, head of BERAS International Foundation.
The Commission Vice-Presidents Timmermans and Commissioners Kyriakides and Wojciechowski all shared their concern for the current food system not being sustainable and underlined that change is needed urgently. Frans Timmermans insisted that “if we continue with the erosion of top soil, erratic weather and the killing of pollinators there are going to be huge problems. Farming has to change globally. We have to show that you can feed the world without depleting natural resources, without harming the environment”.
Ms Kyriakides underlined that business as usual is not an option anymore, and Mr Wojciechowski highlighted the importance of strengthening the relations between farmers and the local food market. Mr Wojciechowski has the difficult task of convincing farmers and Member States to play their role in the implementation of the Farm to Fork strategy but is hopeful in having constructive conversations in this respect.
Mr Amico intervened in the session “economic opportunities for farmers” where he stated that economy should always be in line with environmental and social aspects and that the agricultural model needs to change. It is not organic that is too expensive; conventional is too cheap. He added that low prices mean we are moving costs somewhere else.
Mr Moeskops intervened on a session discussing research and innovation, clarifying that, to implement the knowledge produced by ‘on the ground’ Horizon 2020 multi-actor projects, such as LIVESEED or RELACS, strong knowledge networks are needed. Their success is key to fostering exchange between all actors – also online as Covid-19 has shown.
As was to be expected, some participants were more convinced than others regarding the urgency of the actions needed to transform the current food system, as well as the ways in which to get there. For its part, IFOAM Organics Europe is eager to engage with the EU institutions and other stakeholders to transform the current food system towards a more sustainable one and to reach the 25% organic land target by 2030! The recorded videos of the event will be available on the events’ webpage.