Welcome note March 2021 newsletter

Dear readers,

On behalf of the European organic movement, I would like to welcome the new European Organic Action Plan 2021-2027, published by the European Commission. With this plan, it has put forward concrete steps to boost organic supply and demand, such as the mandatory target for organic products in sustainable food public procurement. Increasing the share of Research and Innovation (R&I) funding is another crucial and timely step considering the importance of new knowledge and innovative solutions for organic farming systems.

The EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies put organic farming at the heart of a transition to sustainable food systems, with a target to reach 25% organic land on average by 2030. As IFOAM Organics Europe, we look forward to collaborating with relevant institutions and interested stakeholders to make this new Organic Action Plan a success. Interested readers can learn more in our political hotspot.

This success coincides with the ongoing trilogues between the three EU institutions on the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). On 22-23 March, EU Agriculture Ministers met in person to find compromise elements to meet the European Parliament’s demands on the reform of the CAP post-2020. The aim of this two-day meeting was to prepare for the ‘super trilogue’, scheduled to take place on Friday 26 March. It has been called by the rotating Portuguese Council Presidency to advance the negotiations on the future CAP. Ahead of the ‘super trilogue’, IFOAM Organics Europe asks negotiators to include a binding national target for organic land in Member States’ Strategic Plans and increase ambition on the CAP’s Green Architecture.  Eco-schemes and pillar 2 of the CAP are complementary and should reward organic farmers for delivering public goods. At the same time, payments for organic conversion eligible under Eco-Sshemes should be increased.

I would also like to highlight our participation to the first digital edition of BIOFACH that took place on 17-19 February. With more than 1,000 participants at 5 sessions, it was a huge success for the European organic movement. Among others, we talked about the 25% EU organic land target of the Farm to Fork strategy, the expected changes in the new EU Organic Regulation and the future of organic certification. Also, TP Organics’ Science Day on ‘Innovating for organic food processing’ attracted a large number of participants. Last but not least, 2 sessions organised by LIVESEED on new plant breeding techniques and innovations on organic seed and plant breeding paved the way for LIVESEED’s new EU Router Database.

Launched on 22 March, the new EU Router Database connecting Member States’ organic seed databases is a long-awaited solution for seed suppliers, organic farmers, and national authorities. It will increase the availability of seed of organic varieties and improve the transparency of the European organic seed market by granting farmers across the EU access to a wider assortment of organic seed varieties in their national databases. The database was developed by FiBL Germany

Finally, I warmly invite you to take part in the European Citizen’s Initiative ‘Save bees and farmers’, ending in June 2021. The initiative aims at phasing out synthetic pesticides by 2035, supporting farmers, and saving bees and nature. If the initiative gathers one million signatures, the European Commission and Parliament must consider turning the campaign’s demands into law. Information about the initiative is available in more than 20 languages.   

Thank you all for your contributions!

Organic regards,

Jan Plagge
IFOAM Organics Europe President

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