The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) (2014-2020) recognizes the role of organic farming in responding to consumer demand for more environmentally friendly farming practices: In the first pillar organic farms will benefit from the green direct payment without fulfilling any further obligations because of their overall significant contribution to environmental objectives.
The Rural Development Policy is a very important and relevant tool to support the sustainable development of rural areas and agriculture including organic farming, in the EU.
Support to organic farming can provide an important contribution to the objectives of this policy, since as a quality measure it helps to improve the competitiveness of agriculture and as a farm management system it contributes to improving the environment and the countryside.
Rural development is implemented by Member States and regions under a common legislative framework and guidelines in the form of rural development programmes. These programmes are co-financed by the European Union and Member States and are implemented in seven year cycles. There are numerous measures proposed within rural development legislation which can be implemented by Member States in order to support and stimulate the development of organic sectors. The measures range from support for applying organic farming practices and methods to providing aid for marketing and promotion.
The new legislative framework for the programming period 2014 – 2020 will further stress the importance of organic farming and increase its visibility in rural development through creating a separate "Organic farming" measure eligible for rural development funding.
If you wish to get more information about support to organic production under the rural development policy in your country, please click here.
In order to get more insights into how Rural Development funds were used to support organic farming in the previous programming period the Commission launched in 2010 a study on "Use and efficiency of public support measures addressing organic farming".
Based on past experience, the study provides to Member States and regions useful insights on how to design the Rural Development Programmes in the period 2014 – 2020.
Organic farming can also be supported through producer organisations implementing operational programmes in the fruit and vegetables regime.
The new European Innovation Partnership (EIP) and the future agricultural research supported by the Horizon 2020programme for investment in research and innovation will also pay specific attention to organic farming.