Missed opportunity to recognise organic farming in the revision of the EU’ fertilisers legislation

On 13 July, there was a vote in the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (COMIMCO), the lead committee on the report concerning the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on rules of fertiliser products on the Single Market.

MEPs in COMIMCO missed the opportunity to take account of the EU organic rules under a new fertilisers regulation, despite strong opinions from both the AGRI and ENVI committees in this direction. They also declined a proposal to label all organic fertilisers that are not permitted in organic agriculture but which do contain terms such as ‘organic’, ‘biological’, ‘ecological’, or their abbreviations ‘bio’ or ‘eco’ in its commercial name. A small positive step was COMIMCO’s decision the labelling of organic fertilisers can be done using figures based on the average content. This recognises the special character of organic fertiliser and the difficulty to measure the exact quantifiable nutrient contents. In addition, a compromise was found on the requirement to label organic fertiliser components, with exemptions only for quantities below 1%. This exemption would be problematic since in organic farming 100% of organic fertiliser components and products needs to be in line with the organic principles.

The Plenary of the European Parliament is expected to vote on this file at the beginning of October 2017. This vote will be followed by trilogue negotiations between the Parliament, Council, and Commission. IFOAM EU will continue to monitor the discussions and advocate for an explicit recognition of organic farming in the final Parliament and Council positions.

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