The “Day of Organic Farming” will be celebrated every September 23 in the EU
23 Sep 2021
The European Union (EU) will celebrate the “Organic Agriculture Day” from now on every 23 September, a day that aims to raise awareness among citizens about the importance of choosing food produced in a more sustainable way and without pesticides.
The European Commission (EC) presented this new conference, which is part of a plan to help European farmers and ranchers to make the leap to organic production.
Brussels defends that this type of production is the future and has set the objective of achieving that by 2030 at least 25% of the European agricultural area is organic.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, told the press that the new European day “is an opportunity to raise awareness about (organic) production and promote the key role it plays in the transition to more sustainable food systems.”
The three institutions (European Commission, Council and Parliament) signed a declaration to establish the official launch of the “Organic Agriculture Day”.
Differences between countries
The area dedicated to organic crops in the EU has been growing in recent years.
In 2019 there were about 13.79 million hectares dedicated to this type of production (8.5% of the total agricultural area), compared to 12.98 million hectares in 2018 and 12 million in 2017.
However, not all member states are equally committed to organic production.
According to data from the Community Executive, the countries of the European Union with a higher percentage of crops dedicated to “bio” agriculture are Austria (25.3% of all their cultivated lands), Estonia (22.3%), Sweden (20 , 4%), Italy and the Czech Republic (15% both countries).
The support of this type of products is also given among consumers, stressed the commissioner.
Promoting more sustainable production is one of the objectives of the “From Farm to Table” strategy, which aims to reduce the use of fertilizers, pesticides and antibiotics in animals.
In addition, the EC plan for the development of Organic Agriculture includes actions aimed at informing and communicating about organic production. promote animal welfare and promote the consumption of organic products.
Brussels recalled, on the other hand, that the CAP will continue to be a tool to facilitate the conversion to agricultural environmentalism.
The Commission plans to dedicate at least 30% of the budget for research and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas to specific or relevant topics for the organic sector.
Reactions in Spain
In Spain, the president of the Spanish Association of Organic Producers and Marketers (Asobio), Joan Picazos, has celebrated its establishment, “since it will allow a better understanding of the benefits of organic products” and increase their consumption, which now represents the “Greatest challenge” for the sector in the country.
Asebio has highlighted in a statement that the selected day coincides with the autumn equinox, a date that aims to evoke the “natural balance”, since it is when day and night have the same duration. It was one of Asobio’s partners, BioGourMed, who suggested to the heads of the European Commission the idea of making the future celebration of this day coincide with one of the two equinoxes that occur each year, as confirmed by sources from that company.
Picazos has advanced that, in coordination with other entities in the organic sector, they have proposed to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) to assume the European recommendations in the future “National Action Plan for Organic Agriculture.”
Public procurement of organic food
This organization has proposed that said plan include as objectives that 10% of food consumption in Spain is of organic products and that this category reaches 20% of public food procurement.
They have also taken the opportunity to demand an “advantageous taxation”, with a “super-reduced VAT” rate for purchases of organic products, in order to stimulate their consumption, and that the European funds of the Recovery Plan reach the entire chain of value of the sector.
From the Spanish Society of Ecological Agriculture-Agroecology (SEAE) they have ensured that “the ecological movement welcomes what, from this year, will be the European celebration of organic, healthy, fair and supportive production and food”.
“It is a day to celebrate but, in this 2021 there is a certain bitter taste due to its coincidence with the celebration of the UN Summit on Food Systems”, of which they have criticized that it is “disproportionately influenced by the industrial agri-food sector” .
In Asobio they have pointed out that with the presentation of the European Day of Organic Agriculture one of the 23 actions included in the European Action Plan for Organic Agriculture is fulfilled.
Spain, the EU country with the most ecological hectares
Spain is the EU country with the largest area (2,437,891 hectares) dedicated to organic agriculture and livestock and the third in the world, according to MAPA.
Ecological activity grew in Spanish fields by 3.5% in 2020 compared to 2019 and already represents 10% of the country’s agricultural area, according to the ministry, whose head, Luis Planas, assured last July that “Spain it is in a position to reach the 25% marked by 2030 ”.
Andalusia, with more than a million hectares; Castilla-La Mancha, with 422,864 hectares; and Catalonia, with 257,000 hectares, account for three-quarters of the national ecological surface.