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The future of organic farming in the European Union

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The future of organic farming in the European Union

 

SUMMARY OF:

Communication (COM(2014) 179 final) –– Action plan for the future of organic production in the EU

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THIS ACTION PLAN?

  • This European Commission action plan seeks to support the growth of organic production* in the EU, a sector that is subject to strict rules.
  • It explores ways to deal with the challenges of supply and demand by mobilising the creation of new partnerships particularly in EU countries, with stakeholders like producers, processors, retailers and consumers.

KEY POINTS

The following summary looks at the action plan’s 3 priority areas and gives examples of some of its 18 actions.

Priority 1: Making EU organic producers more competitive by:

  • improving awareness of how EU funding can be used to help organic producers — for instance, the European Commission’s guide on support opportunities for organic producers — and information about the EU’s organic logo on food labels;
  • using research and innovation (such as the Horizon 2020 programme) to improve the availability of organic inputs such as seeds, animal feed and animal breeds adapted to organic production and disseminating results widely so that they are directly accessible to farmers;
  • providing more information on the organic production sector, as well as on the market and trade.

Priority 2: Increasing consumers’ trust in organic farming and food by:

  • improving and monitoring the system of national accreditation bodies in EU countries (under the EU’s accreditation and market surveillance system) that are in charge of organic certification;
  • introducing electronic certification systems to ensure the traceability of organic products imported into the EU;
  • assisting the development and implementation of organic fraud prevention.

Priority 3: Strengthening the external dimension of EU organic production by:

  • working together with non-EU countries on developing common organic standards;
  • ensuring fair competition between EU and non-EU organic producers and products and facilitating access of EU organic products to non-EU country markets within the regulatory framework;
  • ensuring that consumers trust the integrity of control systems in non-EU countries and the use of organic labelling and of the EU logo.

BACKGROUND

This action plan, adopted in 2014, follows on from the EU’s first action plan for the organic sector, launched in 2004. In parallel, the Commission has issued a proposal for a new EU law on organic production and the labelling of organic products.

For more information, see:

* KEY TERMS

Organic production: an overall system of farm management and food production that combines:

  • best environmental practices,
  • a high level of biodiversity,
  • the preservation of natural resources and the application of high animal welfare standards, and
  • a production method in line with the preference of certain consumers for products using natural substances and processes.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Action Plan for the future of Organic Production in the European Union (COM(2014) 179 final of 24.3.2014).

last update 19.07.2016

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