Yesterday, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission celebrated the start of an annual “EU Organic Day”. The three institutions signed a joint declaration declaring 23 September as “EU Organic Day”. This follows the Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production, adopted by the Commission on 25 March 2021, which announced the establishment of such a day to raise awareness of organic production.
“Today we celebrate organic production, a sustainable form of agriculture where food is produced in harmony with nature, biodiversity and animal welfare,” said Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, at the signing and launching ceremony. “23 September is also the autumnal equinox, when day and night are of equal length, a symbol of the balance between agriculture and the environment that is ideally suited to organic production. I am delighted that we can join the European Parliament, the Council and key actors from this sector in kicking off this annual EU Organic Day, a great opportunity to raise awareness of organic production and promote the key role it plays in the transition to sustainable food systems.”
Organic food production has a number of benefits, including increased biodiversity, higher income and resilience for farmers who farm organically, organically raised animals enjoy higher levels of animal welfare and are given fewer antibiotics, and consumers know exactly what they are getting thanks to the EU organic logo.
The Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production, which was adopted on 25 March 2021, has the overall objective of significantly boosting the production and consumption of organic products in order to contribute to achieving the objectives of the “Farm to Fork” and “Biodiversity” strategies. This includes reducing the use of fertilisers, pesticides and antimicrobials. The organic sector needs the right tools to grow, as outlined in the action plan. It proposes 23 actions to ensure a balanced growth of the sector, structured around three axes: boosting consumption, increasing production and further improving the sustainability of the sector.
To stimulate consumption, the action plan includes actions such as informing and communicating about organic production, promoting the consumption of organic products and encouraging greater use of organic products in public canteens through public procurement. To increase organic production, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will remain an essential tool to support the conversion to organic farming. It will be complemented by, for example, information events and networking for the exchange of best practices and certification for groups of farmers rather than individual farmers. Finally, to improve the sustainability of organic farming, the Commission will dedicate at least 30% of the budget for research and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas to topics specific to or relevant for the organic sector.