Jul 21, 2021
European report highlights ecological importance of organic ag
A new report by IFOAM Organics Europe highlights the contribution of organic farming to protecting Europe’s biodiversity.
The report recommends EU member states to fully use ecological schemes and agro-environmental measures in their Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plans to maximize the contribution of organic farmers to the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the new CAP.
“Member States should explicitly recognize the opportunities for biodiversity conservation and enhancement underpinned by organic farming in their CAP Strategic Plans, rural development programs and national organic action plans,” lead author Nic Lampkin, from the Organic Policy, Business and Research Consultancy said in a news release “And the Commission should recognize that organic farming does deliver biodiversity benefits in the context of Eco-schemes, but also conduct a comprehensive assessment during the design of CAP Strategic Plans of how national governments will support biodiversity objectives through organic payments and additional AECM payments.”
Bruce Pearce, from Fearann Consulting, added: “There is now a substantial body of research evidence that demonstrates the positive impacts of organic farming on biodiversity in Europe. The biodiversity benefits delivered by organic farming are a consequence both of the practices prohibited under organic regulations, such as the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, herbicides and most pesticides and fungicides, as well as the agro-ecological practices adopted by organic farmers to solve production issues without them. The EU has set an ambitious target for the expansion of organic farming to 25% of agricultural land area by 2030 as part of its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies intended to deliver on the EU Green Deal. Achieving this will also contribute to the pesticide, fertilizer and antibiotic reduction targets, and to the nature restoration targets.”
Eric Gall, IFOAM Organics Europe’s Policy Manager said EU member states had a chance to “ensure that their national agriculture policy will start to address the collapse of our biodiversity, which has been a reality in the European countryside for decades.”
“Conventional farmers should be incentivized to transition to organic farming, and organic farmers should be properly rewarded for the public goods they deliver by producing quality food while protecting nature. Increased support to organic farming is a smart public policy tool to ensure that the next CAP will contribute to the EU Green Deal and to the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies targets on biodiversity and nature protection, but also pesticide, fertilizer and antibiotic reduction,” she said in the news release.