Revised EU promotional policy presents opportunities for organic farming

New legislation on information provision and promotion measure will increase EU funding opportunities for initiatives for publicising EU agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries from 2016. This follows the European Parliament’s adoption of a provisional agreement reached by EU Institutions negotiators at plenary in Strasbourg on 15 April.  The provisional agreement has also been ratified in the AGRI Council. The budget for such initiatives will increase gradually over the next five years from current annual fund of €60m per year to €200m annually by 2020. A strong emphasis is placed on multi-country and export-led campaigns which have seen limited uptake under current programming. EU financing contributions will increase to 70% for products on the internal market; 80% multi-products programmes on the internal market and programmes targeted at third countries; and 85% for programmes responded to crisis events in the EU.  Figures show that between 2000 and 2010 EU funds for organic campaigns represented only 8% of the current budget. The new legislation covers:

  • Products recognised under quality schemes e.g. organic. It also includes other products such as cotton and sweetcorn.
  • Spirits and wine with a protected geographical indication (PGI) as well as beer under certain conditions. These product are eligible when promoted alongside other products
  • All so called “Annex 1 products” – listed under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFUE)
  • Fishery and aquaculture products when promoted alongside other products
  • National quality schemes referred under the new rural development regulation.

New campaigns must increase awareness of organic production

In a short press statement IFOAM EU welcomed the revised legislation in presenting new opportunities to promote organic food and farming, but highlighted the missed opportunity by EU leaders to better use EU promotional policy to support and incentivise organic production. It called on policymakers to use the new legislation to build on the recommendations of the EU Organic Action Plan and put in place a dedicated budget for organic farming under the new policy and complementary CAP instruments. The final legislation is expected to be published in the second half of 2014 with the new legislation coming into force by the beginning of 2016.

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