Review of events

4th European Conference on Copper
14-15 November 2019

Innovative projects and initiatives dealing with general questions on plant health care in organic farming and copper reduction met in Berlin to discuss for two days. Soon, you will find a collection of all the presentations at the homepage of BÖLW.

Policy coordinator Isabella Lang presented a policy briefing which aims at better explaining the organic approach towards input to policy makers and the informed public. Isabella stressed that nature conservation and biodiversity can and should go hand in hand with agricultural production if we have a correct environmental risk assessment of inputs. She also pointed out that, besides its intrinsic value, biodiversity is a quality and precondition for the well-functioning of the organic plant health care strategy as it promotes beneficial insects, broader genetic varieties and faunal and floral diversity. This briefing was developed in the course of the RELACS project.

IFOAM EU is currently involved in a working group by DG SANTE. This group is looking into specific protection goals for the environmental risk assessment of plant protection products.

IFOAM EU’s members can read more about the current developments regarding copper authorisation on the IFOAM EU member extranet.
For more information about membership, contact IFOAMEU_membership [at] (IFOAMEU_membership [at]
For more information about IFOAM EU’s work on animal welfare, contact isabella.lang [at] (isabella.lang [ at ]

RELACS has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773431. The information contained in this communication only reflects the author’s view.



Organic farmers meet in Finland
21-22 November 2019, Härmän Rati, Finland

After a meeting in the Czech Republic earlier this year, the IFOAM EU Interest Group of Organic Farmers headed northwards to Finland. No snow but many saunas with lake views awaited us around the meeting venue Härmän Räti, an innovative, organic hotel.

Almost 30 farmers from 15 countries discussed the possible content of a climate and biodiversity action plan of the organic movement from a farmer’s point of view. In line with this topic we visited the experimental farm of Tuomas Mattila, a regenerative carbon farmer who practices mixed cropping systems, agroforestry and strongly reduced soil tillage. During lunch we had delicious reindeer soup at a rural small shop over which we discussed the many similarities between organic and regenerative farming.

Also on the agenda of the group was an exchange angd update about the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) negotiations and the different situations regarding the state-of-play of the national work. The farmers also discussed the organic regulation, namely the definition of factory farming in different countries.

Does this sound interesting to you? Join us for our annual farmers breakfast at Biofach on 14 February 2020 at 09:30, location to be decided. You can also email isabella.lang [at] (isabella.lang [ at ]

©Isabella Lang

©Isabella Lang


Organic processors meet at IGOP meeting & IGOP annual general meeting
2 December 2019

2 December was an exciting day for the Interest Group of Organic Processors (IGOP). After a morning meeting about the latest developments of the new organic regulation on topics like cleaning and disinfectants and flavourings, the first IGOP annual general meeting took place in the afternoon.

The technical IGOP is composed of associations of processors and traders, so the IGOP annual general meeting is an opportunity for companies, members of IFOAM EU or members of members of IFOAM EU, to have their say about IGOP’s and IFOAM EU’s future work.

In a world café setting, participants had the chance to contribute to the IGOP’s and IFOAM EU’s work plan,  to identify the future challenges for organic and share their ideas on putting organic forward as a solution to current societal and environmental issues.

Regarding the latter world café, recurrent themes were to uphold the integrity of organic and the organic supply chain, to become better at communicating the benefits of organic, as well as to focus on other issues linked to organic, such as packaging, which can contribute to the sustainability of a product.

We already look forward to the next IGOP annual general meeting for some more exciting and fresh ideas on how to bring the organic journey forward in the context of processing and trading!


Wrapping up four years of interregional cooperation on Organic Action Plans
2 December 2019, Brussels, Belgium

The final event of the SME Organics project gathered regional partners from all over Europe in Brussels. They discussed the outcomes of the project, the Regional Organic Action Plans stemming from it and the impact on the growth of organic Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the region.

Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM EU Director , and INTIA’s General Manager Juanma Intxaurrandieta kicked off the event with a welcome address. Then Nicolas Lampkin, Organic Policy consultant from Thünen Institute, delivered a keynote speech in which he provided an overview of the organic sector in the European Union. Anne-Cecile Renard of the Interreg Europe Programme continued with a presentation on  how the Interreg Europe Programme supports SME competitiveness strategies. Later, Natalia Bellostas from IntiaSA and Project Coordinator at the Interreg Europe Programme and SME Organics shared the lessons learnt during the SME Organics project.

Eduardo Cuoco welcomes participants and opens the final SME Organics event in Brussels. © Katarina Seme

Nicolas Lampkin, Organic Policy consultant from Thünen Institute, talks about organic sector in the European Union. © Katarina Seme

After a coffee break the event closed with two discussion panels. The first focused on the experiences of the project partners regarding interregional cooperation and was moderated by Eric Gall, IFOAM EU Policy Manager. The last panel of the day was moderated by Roberta Mancia. In this panel the participating partners shared their experiences on the impact of the Multi-Fund Regional Action Plans to support the growth of the organic sector in their region.

Eric Gall moderates a panel on experiences of the project partners regarding interregional cooperation. © Katarina Seme

The SME Organics project was funded within the framework of the Interreg Europe. The project partner regions are Navarre (ES), Puglia (IT), Lombardy (IT), New Aquitaine (FR), Aargau (CH), North-West (RO), Lodzkie Region (PL), Seinäjoki (FI). The expert supporting partner is IFOAM EU (BE).

SME ORGANICS seeks to improve policies and programmes under the Investment for Growth and Jobs goal in order to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the SMEs in the organic sector of the participating regions. The project aims both at enhancing entrepreneurship but also at supporting the existing SMEs in improving their performance in order to enforce the growth capacity of the entire organic regional sector in regional, national and international markets.


IFOAM EU meets business: The organic sector and companies involved in organic exchange
Brussels, Belgium, 3 December 2019

At the 2nd edition of IFOAM EU meets business , almost 60 participants joined this event, aimed as a platform for exchange between the organic sector and companies involved in organic and open to the whole supply chain. Participants included organic pioneers and new entrants into the organic sector.

Sarah Compson, the chair of IFOAM EU’s Interest Group of Organic Processors (IGOP) chaired the meeting. IFOAM EU’s director Eduardo Cuoco opened the day by presenting the work of IFOAM EU and the organic movement’s vision. Sarah continued presentating the work of the IGOP, and Paul Holbeck from organic Denmark gave an inspirational overview of the organic market in Denmark and how companies contributed to its impressive development.

The new organic regulation could not be absent during such an event which is why Alexander Beck from AöL, Michel Reynaud from Ecocert and Emanuele Busacca from IFOAM EU gave an overview of the changes that the new organic regulation will introduce, in particular for international trade, certification, and processing rules.

After lunch, Marian Blom from Bionext and IFOAM EU Vice President gave a presentation about the state of play and current developments regarding findings of pesticide residues in organic products. She called on those present and active on the topic to contribute to IFOAM EU’s ‘Developing Organics: Ensuring a favourable environment for organic operators’(see footnote). Lee Holdstock from Soil Association then gave an update on Brexit and what a potential no deal would mean for companies selling in and from the UK.

Finally, participants joined one of two discussion tables, either on international trade & control and certification or on food and labelling. At both tables, participants held lively discussions with interesting interventions.

Given the continued interest by participants for an event that brings different actors around the table, IFOAM EU already looks forward to organizing the 3rd edition IFOAM EU meets business in 2020.

Last but certainly not least, IFOAM EU would like to thank Biofach for being the exclusive sponsor of IFOAM EU meets business!

BIOFACH 2019 Logo

Are you active on this topic and keen to contribute? Contact SupportUs [at] for more information.


IFOAM EU member Edouard Rousseau from INTERBIO Nouvelle Aquitaine speaking at European Parliament hearing on the CAP reform
Brussels, Belgium, 4 December 2019

Vice-President of INTERBIO Nouvelle Aquitaine, Edouard Rousseau, held a speech during the hearing of the European Parliament’s on the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy. His expertise on organic value chain and market structure was very appreciated by Members of the European Parliament in the context of the reopening of negotiations around the Common Organisation of the Markets (CMO) regulation. In his presentation, Mr Rousseau insisted on the need to improve transparency in pricing, and fully include organic farming in the CMO framework. He also reminded the European deputees of the organic sector’s wish to have more precise production data and organic volumes at European level.

Edouard Rousseau during the European Parliament’s hearing on “The reform of the Common Agriculture Policy” on 4th December 2019. © Léna Brisset

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