European Commission

dpa – The European Commission wants to see the proportion of EU agricultural land dedicated to organic production increase from 8.5 in 2019 to 25 per cent by 2030, mainly by nudging more consumers to choose low-pesticide and fertilizer goods.

“Organic farming provides many benefits to the environment, contributing to healthy soils, reducing pollution of air and water, and improving biodiversity,” European Commissioner for the Environment and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius said in a written statement announcing the action plan on Thursday.

Demand for organic produce is growing rapidly but needs to be stimulated further, according to the EU executive.

Concrete suggestions include holding an EU Organic Day, encouraging sales through public procurement in canteens and schools, and also supporting farmers interested in going organic with training and information opportunities.

Organic farming is thought better for the natural environment, but is also associated with lower yields and higher prices for buyers.

The commission believes that without its intervention, the proportion of organic-registered EU farmland would reach 15 to 18 per cent by the end of the decade.

But there is a lot variance between the 27 member states at present.

Austria is the “absolute leader” with 26 per cent of land dedicated to organic, European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski told reporters in Brussels, followed by Sweden, Estonia, Italy, Latvia and the Czech Republic.

On the other end of the spectrum with 3 per cent or less is Bulgaria, Romania, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and Malta, he said.

Each member state should make an individual action plan, according to the Polish EU official.

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