Welcome note September 2020 newsletter

Dear readers,

On behalf of the European organic movement, I would like to welcome you back after the summer break. I hope that you were able to recharge your batteries for the rest of the year despite the challenges we are still facing in Europe and around the world due to Covid-19.

However, these should and will not stop us from working towards making Europe more organic. Together we have already achieved that organic takes a key role in the EU Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy and we have intensively worked to have the implementation of the new EU Organic Regulation postponed from January 2021 to January 2022, which is likely to happen. Both achievements are highly relevant for all of our members. The probable one-year postponement of the new Organic Regulation is crucial, as without it the organic sector would have faced an unrealistic timeline for implementing the new rules. These successes were only possible because of your tireless efforts and support, and I would like to express a heart-felt ‘thank you’ to everyone for their contribution. This shows the strength of uniting as organic movement and sector at EU level.

At the same time, I would like to encourage you and the entire organic sector to continue working towards a more sustainable food and farming system. Of course, this should be done in safe conditions and without risking your own or your colleagues’ and families’ health. At IFOAM Organics Europe, we will largely continue our activities from our homes to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and network. Below I highlight our many activities for the following months.

The CAP negotiations’ importance for the European organic movement

At a political level the negotiations of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are picking up pace. With both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers aiming to finalise their positions by end October, the negotiations of the next weeks are crucial. The EU will not achieve its vision for sustainable food systems, including reaching 25% of organic land by 2030, if the CAP is not aligned with the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy. The organic movement urges MEPs and Agriculture Ministers to agree to an ambitious ringfencing of the CAP budget for environmental and climate action, ensuring better rewards for farmers who protect ecosystem services, and creating a level-playing field across all Member States.

We also need all governments to include a fair national target for organic land in their CAP strategic plans, and adequate support to reach it and reward organic farmers for the benefits they provide to nature and society. Under the leadership of our Interest Group of Organic Farmers (IGOF), we count on all our members to reach out to their national governments on these points in the next three weeks.

The European organic movement is also looking forward to the new EU Action Plan on Organic Farming. This is expected to be published by the end of the year, and the Commission opened a public consultation in August.

A fair market frame for 25% organic

For many of our members, the possibility of reaching 25% land managed under organic practices is not the main question (and this seems to be reachable in many regions). The key issue is rather: how do we develop a frame for our ‘fair play – fair pay’ approach in the organic value chain while boosting the demand for our produce? More focus and efforts from all of us are needed to propose adequate measures at EU and national levels. Beside the Organic Action Plan, the current national implementation of the Unfair Trading Practices EU regulation can be a good opportunity to transform value chains to more fairness.

A sprint to the end of the year

We will dedicate the final months of this year to two important online events. On 24 and 25 November, TP Organics organises the 6th edition of its Organic Innovation Days. These days will feature innovations in organic and plant breeding, will cover the LIVESEED project’s results and allow you to expand your network and get updated on the expected Horizon Europe calls. Stay tuned for more information and registration.

Furthermore, we will host the 3rd edition of ‘IFOAM Organics Europe meets business – Bringing the organic food industry together’. In the morning of 8 and 9 December we will virtually bring IFOAM Organics Europe and companies involved in organic together. For more information, visit our website and follow @OrganicsEurope on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Once more, I would like to thank you for your hard work. I am convinced that together we can arise from this crisis even stronger and more resilient and continue making our Vision 2030 of transforming food and farming a reality.

Organic regards,

Jan Plagge
IFOAM Organics Europe President

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