Limited consumer demand could hinder Europe’s plans to reach 25% organic food production

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Credit: Damian Dovarganes/AP
Credit: Damian Dovarganes/AP

EU plans to make over 25 percent of Europe’s farmland organic by 2030 will depend on changes in consumption patterns, DG AGRI deputy chief [Michael] Scannell told the agriculture committee. 

Cost of living: Scannell said the Commission was worried about increased costs to farmers — from feed, freight, transport and Brexit red tape — and also from the new environmental goals. “With the increased sustainable targets coming onstream under the Farm to Fork (F2F) and Green Deal, it’s extremely important that these costs don’t only fall only on farmers,” Scannell said. The issue had been “raised also in the context of organics,” he added. 

Do the math: The soon-to-be-published EU Organic Action Plan “acknowledges and accepts that if we are to meet the F2F organic target … we need to see a response also on the consumption side of the equation,” Scannell said. 

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Supply and demand: Demand for organic food in Europe is growing strongly, with a 70 percent rise in Europe’s organic area over the last decade. But market analysis suggests that organics will still only reach an EU market share of 15-18 percent by 2030 at current rates. 

Getting the promotion: Farm lobbies argue that market demand rather than EU targets should be a primary driver for increasing organic output, while Commission plans to use around €49 million for organics promotion irked some lawmakers.

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