Report on implementing the EU organic farming Regulation
A new report on the way EU rules on organic production and labelling have been applied has been published by the European Commission.
As required under the Regulation 834/2007, it analyses the experience gained in applying European organic legislation since 2009, centring on four main areas:
- the scope of this Regulation and its possible extension to other agricultural products (for example to organic food prepared by mass caterers, to textiles or cosmetics;
- the prohibition on the use of GMOs in organic production (the feasibility of specific tolerance thresholds and their impact on the organic sector);
- the functioning of the internal market and the system of controls (assessing in particular that the established practices do not lead to unfair competition or barriers to the production and marketing of organic products;
- the import regime.
The report concludes that it is too early to table proposals to adjust the Regulation, based on the limited experience since 2009, but states that this will stimulate a constructive debate on the organic farming regulation – with the European Parliament, the Council, and other stakeholders – on the basis of which the Commission may come forward with proposals at a later stage.
In the course of this debate, the report suggests that a wide range of topics could be considered, such as the simplification of the legislative framework, co-existence rules between organic and GMO production, improving the system of controls, improving the equivalence regime in trade of organic products.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural development Dacian Cioloş stated: “I am looking forward to the upcoming discussion on this report and wish to open the Inter-institutional debate to all stakeholders thus creating the opportunity to explore new ways in which to adjust the EU's organic policy and legal framework and paving the way towards further improving the development of organic agriculture and production in the European Union.”
By the end of 2009, the area devoted to organic farming (sum of fully converted and in-conversion area), certified under Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, covered 8.6 million ha in EU-27, while in 2005 it covered around 6.5 million ha. This represents an increase of 33 % over the period 2005-2009. The organic farming area reached 4.7 % of the total utilised agricultural area (UAA) of EU-27 in 2009, compared to 3.6 % in 2005 (see graph at the end of the document).