Welcome note October 2021 newsletter

Dear readers,

Autumn has reached Europe, and unlike nature at this time of year, our work is not slowing down. I would like to take this opportunity to look back at the past intense month and look ahead at what else this autumn and winter have in stock.

Political developments and their impact on organic
I would like to start off by highlighting a few major political events relevant for the organic movement and sector.

On 19 October, the European Parliament approved its own Farm to Fork Strategy initiative report with 452 votes in favour. With this vote, the Parliament supports the principles, mechanisms and rules promoting the environment and human health and recognises the contribution of organic farming to transitioning towards more sustainable food systems. We collaborated with other NGOs and civil society organisations, to ensure EU stands by the Farm to Fork strategy and its targets of 25% organic land and 50% reduction in pesticides and antibiotics by 2030. Interested readers can find more information in a dedicated article.

On 22 October, the European Commission’s public consultation on the Inception Impact Assessment for ‘new genomic techniques’ closed. In its consultation, the Commission aimed at identifying crucial issues before it publishes a new legal proposal for so called ‘New Genomic Techniques’, which could leave organic food systems unprotected. We contributed to this consultation, representing the European organic movement’s voice. Read more in the second part of our previous article and rest assured that we will keep you posted about each step along the way,.

Our work on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform also continues. After the Parliament approved the new CAP Regulations in September, the final vote is expected to take place in November 2021. In the meantime, Member States are drafting their CAP Strategic Plans that will play a major role in reaching the 25% organic land target by 2030. Our report ‘Organic in Europe – Prospects and developments for organic in national CAP Strategic Plans’ highlights potential targets and associated budgets for organic land at the national level to achieve 25% organic land on average across the EU.

Looking ahead a bit further, many of you know the new Organic Regulation (EU) 2018/848 will apply from 1 January 2022. The basic regulation published in June 2018 will be accompanied by around 23 acts of secondary legislation, most of them not yet published. To help our members and organic stakeholders interpret the changes, we are working on a guide. Stay tuned for the launch of its first version in November.

Organic operators met at the Organic Food Conference
This year’s hybrid edition of our bi-annual Organic Food Conference (formerly Organic Processing Conference) gathered organic food processors, retailers, traders, importers, and control bodies as well as policy-makers from all over Europe online and in Warsaw, Poland. Participants and speakers discussed ‘the future of organic food’, exchanging about supply-chain development, market trends and more on 30 September-1 October 2021.

Ryszard Kamiński, Undersecretary of State of Poland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and I had the honour to open the Conference. During seven inspiring sessions, speakers and participants discussed how to increase both demand and supply for organic food to reach the EU’s 25% organic land target, sustainability and nutrition labelling, packaging and organic, expected changes in the new EU Organic Regulation and organic market development. In his closing speech, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Janusz Wojciechowski, recognised organic farming as part of the solution to the climate and biodiversity crises. For full coverage, read our article in this newsletter, our 10 take-aways and browse our Twitter moments. Recordings will be available on the Organic Food Conference website in November. Are you an IFOAM Organics Europe member? You can already Watch the recordings on our member extranet.

Organic businesses & businesses interested in organic will meet at IFOAM Organics Europe Meets Business
At the start of winter, we will organise the 4th edition of IFOAM Organics Europe Meets Business. On 7 December, IFOAM Organics Europe’s members, their members and companies involved or interested in organic will gather digitally and discuss current hot topics, such as organic market development and societal trends, and the new EU Organic Regulation. Are you a (partially) organic organic business or are you interested in venturing into organic? Register now and have a look at the programme.

We are also looking forward to the 7th edition of TP OrganicsOrganic Innovation Days, taking place virtually 30 November-1 December. This year’s event titled ‘Better inputs for organic farming’ is co-organised with Horizon 2020 projects RELACS and Organic-PLUS. Check out the programme and register by 28 November.

Ending on a celebratory note, I’m happy to announce that 2022 will also be the year of the European organic movement’s 20th anniversary. Together with our international network and the birthdays of IFOAM Organics International and IFOAM Asia, we will celebrate 2022 as the year of organic.

We are looking forward to celebrating with all of you!

Organic regards,
Eduardo Cuoco
IFOAM Organics Europe Director

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