European Awards Champion Organic Agriculture

Prizes were awarded to farmers, projects, retailers and regions to promote the bloc’s push to convert one-quarter of its agriculture to organic practices by 2030.
By Paolo DeAndreis
Sep. 30, 2022 16:05 UTC

Eight organic agri­cul­tural stake­hold­ers in the European Union have been awarded in the inau­gural edi­tion of the 27-mem­ber bloc’s Organic Awards.

The awards were announced dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tions of E.U. Organic Day. Major E.U. insti­tu­tions sup­ported the events to pro­mote an organic approach to agri­cul­ture while pro­mot­ing bio­di­ver­sity and its Farm-to-Fork Strategy.

These win­ners inspire those work­ing to make our food and farm­ing sys­tem more sus­tain­able.- Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM Europe

From inno­v­a­tive mush­room cul­ti­va­tion and prop­a­ga­tion tech­niques in Spain to bio-inten­sive gar­dens on ancient Croatian farms, the awards rewarded spe­cific farm­ers, projects and organic retail­ers.

Entire regions where organic agri­cul­ture thrives were awarded, too. Occitania, a region of south­west­ern France, earned the award for the best organic region, while Cilento, the first of Italy’s so-called bio dis­tricts,” received a homony­mous award. Incidentally, both are home to many organic olive groves.

See Also:Italy Investing €3B to Convert a Quarter of Farm Land to Organic by 2027

A jury of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from var­i­ous insti­tu­tions, includ­ing COPA-COGECA, a farm­ers’ union, and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), nom­i­nated the award win­ners.

These win­ners, and those short­listed, inspire those work­ing to make our food and farm­ing sys­tem more sus­tain­able, using organ­ic’s poten­tial,” Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM Europe’s direc­tor, said. Some of the awards’ cri­te­ria were based on the holis­tic prin­ci­ples of organic-care, health, ecol­ogy and fair­ness.”

Among the dri­vers of the Organic Day cel­e­bra­tions is the ambi­tious goal set by the European Commission to have 25 per­cent of its agri­cul­tural land under organic farm­ing regimes by 2030.

Some of the most rel­e­vant olive oil-pro­duc­ing coun­tries are head­ing in that direc­tion. According to data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, nearly 11 per­cent of usable agri­cul­tural land in the coun­try is under organic regimes.

Furthermore, agri­cul­tural land under organic cul­ti­va­tion increased by 16 per­cent in 2021. The sur­face area of organic olive groves in the coun­try also rose by 16 per­cent, reach­ing 256,510 hectares.

In Italy, more than 17 per­cent of the coun­try’s usable agri­cul­tural land is under organic regimes, accord­ing to the Federation for Organic Producers (FederBio).

However, reach­ing the 2030 goal will require a sub­stan­tial accel­er­a­tion in con­ver­sion to organic prac­tices in many coun­tries.

According to IFOAM, 14 mil­lion hectares – 9 per­cent – of agri­cul­tural land was under organic regimes across the European Union in 2019. Between 2014 and 2019, the amount of organic agri­cul­tural sur­face area in the bloc increased by 8.6 per­cent per annum.

Based on these sce­nar­ios, the 25 per­cent by 2030 tar­get is chal­leng­ing but achiev­able and would require a three to five-fold increase in expen­di­ture,” IFOAM said.

In E.U., more than 340,000 farm­ers have adopted or con­verted to organic regimes and are respon­si­ble for more than €38.8 bil­lion in retail sales. About 3.2 per­cent of agri­cul­tural retail sales come from organic prod­ucts.

Today, we cel­e­brate organic pro­duc­tion, a sus­tain­able type of agri­cul­ture where food pro­duc­tion is done in har­mony with nature, bio­di­ver­sity and ani­mal wel­fare,” said Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski while intro­duc­ing the inau­gural E.U. organic day.

I am glad that together with the European Parliament, the Council and key actors of this sec­tor, we get to launch this annual E.U. organic day, a great oppor­tu­nity to raise aware­ness of organic pro­duc­tion and pro­mote the key role it plays in the tran­si­tion to sus­tain­able food sys­tems.”


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