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EU organic farmers show red card to Brussels

by Editor (comments: 0)

Organic  farmers  call  for  an  end  to  the  misguided negotiations  on  the  organic regulation proposal that does not deliver a better regulation. We are facing many major crises in farming today; from the market crisis to the alarming rate of farmer loss;  to  the  degradation  of  soil,  reduction  in  air and  water  quality  and  loss  of  biodiversity. 

The undersigned organisations – representing more than 50,000 organic farmers in Europe – call on all the EU institutions to withdraw the current proposal for a new organic regulation. This is because it does not meet  the interests of farmers and citizens, does not promote the further development of the organic  sector  and  will  restrict  the  uptake  on  environmental  and  climate-friendly  organic  farming practices.

Organic farming offers solutions that help farmers stay farming, helps to reduce  greenhouse gas  emissions and helps to protect our natural resources. European farmers and citizens are increasingly showing they believe in the value organic delivers. In the first 6 months of 2016 France saw more than 21 farmers a day deciding to go organic, while there been almost  2000  conversions in  Germany this year alone.

Across  the EU the market share for organic food sales continues to grow at 6-7% year-on-year, whilst there is stagnation in the rest of the food and drink sector. Despite these clear signs from farmers, citizens and science, the future development of organic will be significantly hindered if  these misguided negotiations on a revised EU organic regulation continue any longer. The  uncertain  legal  situation  and  operating conditions  created  by  the  now  nearly  four-year discussion cannot be allowed to continue any longer.

We thank all those involved for their determination and resolve. Yet the enormous effort dedicated by the  EU  and  National  institutions, farmers and  organic  organisations, and  others has undoubtedly  cost millions of euros and yielded no results. Six presidencies have come and gone from the initiation of the Commission proposal, and as the current presidency draws to a close, there is still no agreement in sight on the critical areas.

What is currently on the  table does not add any innovative aspects or developments  to the regulation currently  in  force,  and  could significantly  impair the livelihoods  of  farmers. In  addition  to  the  lack of positive developments, detrimental elements have been included, such as:  
• the potential removal of  the requirement for an annual inspection  which would undermine an important pillar for consumer trust
• organic farmers might be forced to pay for contamination and pollution  which is beyond  their control  
• the crucial concept of soil bound crop production is at risk
• the proposed conversion rules will not incentivise the conversion of new farmers into organic  
• no step forward in animal welfare is provided for
• the import rules are not in favour of small organic farmers in developing countries

The time and money spent on the negotiations to date could have been much better spent on improving the  current  regulation, for  example  by  working  on much  needed implementing  rules  for poultry production and greenhouses. It is time to see the writing on the wall. Negotiators should stop trying to fix a sinking ship and recognise that the plans on
which it was built are inherently faulty.  



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