Welcome note from IFOAM EU Board Member and sector representative for farming, Thomas Fertl

Dear members,

I am happy to inform you that we have made significant progress across our various areas of activity over the past few months – all of which could not have been possible without your continuous support. From publishing a position paper on the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs), to finalising the SOLMACC (Strategies for Organic and Low-Input Farming to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change) project, we have steadily strived to implement our vision for the future of European agriculture by 2030.

In the face of these major developments for food and farming, the 12th European Organic Congress provides the perfect opportunity for industry knowledge exchange and in-depth discussions on how all actors in the organic food supply chain can continue making such great strides.

This year’s edition of the European Organic Congress will take place over two days on 25 and 26 September in Vienna, Austria – a county where 25% of the agricultural land is cultivated organically. The Congress will hone into current affairs of the sector by forming much needed dialogue on the ongoing revision of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), production rules for the new Organic Regulation and dealing with unfair trading practices (UTPs).

Participants to the Congress will be welcomed by our President, Jan Plagge, and the President of BioAustria, Gertraud Grabmann. The first day of Congress will provide participants with a full-day of focused discussions via plenaries hosted by a number of high-level experts. The opening plenary on ‘Fair Play and Fair Pay’ will bring together vital actors from NaturaSi, the European Commission, the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), Fair Trade Advocacy Office, and BioAustria, to facilitate talks on how we can achieve a more sustainable food system and what is needed in the short and long-term. Talks will continue in the following plenary on ‘The Future of food and farming’ where speakers will analyse how the design of the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) can empower farmers and help them to deliver public goods to society.

In the morning of the second day, the Congress will open with a plenary on ‘’new production rules for plants and livestock’’ and continue with two parallel workshops – one on the design and implementation of the new CAP strategic plans proposed by the European Commission, the second on fairness along the value chain. To round off the Congress, participants have the chance to see organic values and principles in practice at a one-day excursion to organic farms and companies in Lower Austria.

I am eager to see how the discussions we will have at the Congress will feed into the EU’s post-2020 agenda and the future of organic farming.

Organic regards,

Thomas Fertl
Board Member and sector representative for farming, IFOAM EU

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