EU: Increased role of organic farming
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With the EU's future farm policy expected to have an increased focus on protecting biodiversity, promoting sustainable farming and achieving CO2 reduction goals, organic farming may be worth a closer look, EU officials said. "There is a growing interest in organic farming, particularly in the context of talks on ecosystem services," said Ladislav Miko, director at the European Commission's environment directorate, addressing a seminar on the role of organic farming in combating climate change on April 20, 2010. His comments come as the EU is preparing a major overhaul of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the post-2013 era, in a bid to tap into the increasingly recognised potential of agriculture to mitigate climate change and deliver various other environmental benefits, such as improved soil and water quality, EurActive Nework reports.
Anna Barnett from the Commission's environment directorate stressed that the focus should be on reducing pollution from the 96 % of farm land currently used for conventional farming. She noted that 50 % of France's drinking water, for example, needed to be cleaned of pesticides before it was fit to drink. "We also need more money for rural development measures, for organic farming as well as fairer distribution of payments," Ms Barnett said. According to Urs Niggli, director of the FiBL, organic farming actually built up soil fertility and matter, and organic agriculture's environmental services were "huge". In addition to better soil fertility, organic fields also had a 30 % wider variety of species, a 50 % greater abundance of beneficial animals and an abundance of bees compared to conventionally farmed fields, Mr Niggli continued. They also had increased capacity to hold water and higher water content in the soil, he added.
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