Agricultural politicians in EU divided over 'obligation' 25% organic

The European Parliament's Agriculture Committee wants to give European farmers time to switch to more organic farming. Sticking to at least 25% organic farming will only lead to food surpluses if the demand for organic food does not grow.

Therefore, the farm-to-fork strategy should be phased in, according to the preliminary compromise response of the AGRI committee to the European Commission's organic action plan.

In recent months, Austrian OVP MEP Simone Schmiedtbauer has been in talks as rapporteur with all political groups in the Committee on Agriculture, to draw up a common position on the organic plans of the EU commissioners. Her interim report presented on Wednesday is in any case supported by the Christian Democrats and the conservative, liberal and right-wing (I+D) groups.

Schmiedtbauer also pointed out that politically motivated directives can cause overproduction. “You should not break the fragile balance in the organic market,” warned Dutch MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen (SGP). 

For some EU countries such as Austria, meeting the 25% organic farming limit is not a problem, but on average it would have to roughly triple from the current 8% to meet the EU commission's target. Schmiedtbauer does not want to include a mandatory 25% in its report. In contrast, Social Democrats, Greens and the United Left want to stick to the 25% target.

Dutch MEP Anja Hazekamp (PvdD) noted that the European Parliament has already supported and established that 25% objective of the 'farm to fork' strategy.

At the end of March, the Agriculture Committee will vote on the report by rapporteur Schmiedtbauer on the organic farming action plan. It will be voted on in the plenary session of the EU parliament in May.