"There is a growing interest in organic farming, particularly in the context of talks on ecosystem services", said Ladislav Miko, director at the European Commission's environment directorate, addressing a seminar on the role of organic farming in combating climate change on 20 April as reported by Euractiv.com. His comments come as the EU is preparing a major overhaul of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the post-2013 era (see GreenMed related news).
According to the EU executive, only 4% of EU farmland is currently used by organic farming. However, in some countries organic farming covers up to 15-20%. Besides protecting the soil and theenvironment, restricted use of pesticides also improves water quality. Anna Barnett from the Commission's environment directorate stressed that the focus should be on reducing pollution from the 96% of farm land currently used for conventional farming. She noted that 50% of France's drinking water, for example, needs to be cleaned of pesticides before it is fit to drink. "We also need more money for rural development measures, for organic farming as well as fairer distribution of payments," Barnett said.
Organic farming target?
Organic products represents 2% of the EU food market and 2% of EU farmers have opted for this type of farming, noted Jean-François Hulot, head of the organic farming unit at the European Commission's agriculture department. There is currently no specific target at EU level for organic farming, nor is there a budget or payments, he said.
Having a target for organic farming is "not a stupid idea" as there is already strong demand for one, Hulot said. But if such a target were established, "we would put into question the market-driven approach of agriculture," he warned.
Source: our partner GreenPlanet.net