EU farmers want more support for organic – Farming Online
The European farmers’ organisation, Copa Cogeca, has called for more support from the EU to go towards promoting and developing the organic sector. Speaking at a major conference on organic farming in Italy today, Copa-Cogeca highlighted the many environmental and animal welfare benefits of organic farming and emphasised the need for measures to support organic farming to be improved in the CAP post-2013.
Speaking at the Conference, in which Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Saverio Romano and Chair of European Parliaments Agriculture Committee Paolo de Castro also participated, Johannes Nebel, Chair of Copa-Cogeca Working Party on Organic Farming, outlined the context, “Demand for organic products is increasing each year. Europe is the second largest organic producer in the world. Imports to the EU are also increasing.”
He stressed, “More funds need to be invested in research so that farmers can improve their techniques. Information and promotion campaigns are also vital to better inform everyone of European organic production and to stimulate European produce.”
He went on to cover the wide ranging benefits that organic farming has, including low environmental impact, improving soils quality, water quality and biodiversity, “EU legislation on organic farming also establishes a number of practices aimed at achieving a higher level of animal welfare. Animals must have permanent open-air access and stocking densities must be kept low both inside and outside buildings.”
Explaining that organic farming should be accorded greater importance as the approach yields desirable results, in tune with the principal aims of the Common Agricultural Policy, Mr Nebel said, “In view of its benefits, organic farming has the potential to respond to the main goals of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)”.
In a statement issued later by Copa-Cogeca, the committee’s Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen stressed, “Organic farming responds to environmental challenges. For this reason, we believe that organic farming must be given high priority under the CAP post-2013”.
Humphrey Feeds Comment: – one key way in which the EU can support the organic sector, is not by throttling it with requirements, such as the planned move from 95% to 100% organic diets, when to do so would impair birds welfare.