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Study of government support for organic farming

In 2004  the first European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming Choose translations of the previous link  urged EU countries to take measures in support of organic farming.

The Commission ordered a study of these measures. Entitled  'Use and efficiency of public support measures addressing organic farming' Choose translations of the previous link , it was carried out in 2011 by the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute. It listed and categorised support measures in all EU countries, and explored the relationship between policy measures, policy strategies and the development of organic farming, based on case studies in 6 countries.

All types of support were examined:

  • measures in national or regional Rural Development (RD) programmes
  • direct payments under the first pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), aid to Producer Organisations for fruit and vegetables
  • national support schemes, including, where relevant, schemes at regional level

One key conclusion was that the role of government in promoting organic farming is a very complex one. The effectiveness of single policy measures, such as area-based support schemes, depends not only on the scope and nature of the assistance but also on the size of the sector and/or the stage of development it has reached. Single policy measures for organic farming are highly interdependent. This is why policy packages are more effective, provided they fit into a broader policy picture, target strategic goals and directly cater to the sector's needs.

The study offers useful insights which should be helpful to EU countries and regions in designing their next Rural Development Programmes (2014 – 2020).

Evaluation of EU law on organic farming

DG Agriculture and Rural Development has commissioned an external evaluation of EU law on organic farming in preparation for a review of legislation.

This evaluation focuses on howeffective Council Regulation 834/2007pdf and its implementing rules have been in achieving:

  • the Regulation's overall goals: providing the basis for the sustainable development of organic production while ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market, guaranteeing fair competition, ensuring consumer confidence and protecting consumer interests, and
  • the general objectives of organic production, which include respecting natural cycles, and protecting the environment and plant and animal health.

The evaluation covers the period since 1 January 2009, when Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 entered into force, with a previous period as reference. Although it deals with all EU countries, 13 of them -Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom - are examined in more detail.

It looks into important aspects of EU law such as:

  • the scope of the Regulation  
  • the production rules
  • the monitoring system
  • the import regime

It also gauges what people think of the EU approach to organic production and labelling, and how much EU law has contributed to the sustainable development of the organic farming sector.

The full tender specifications Choose translations of the previous link  are available.

This study, conducted by the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, started in the autumn of 2012 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.

Do you want to know more about the CAP and related environmental issues? Take a look at the other evaluations Choose translations of the previous link  and studies Choose translations of the previous link  commissioned by DG Agriculture and Rural Development.