Agriculture ministers call for creation of European action plan for the development of organic farming and food
Within the next two years, the Copenhagen declaration hopes to:
- Analyse the barriers to and potential for further growth within production, processing, trade and consumption of organic products in Europe.
- Present a consensus-oriented and market-based strategy, which involves all stakeholders within Europe as a whole.
- Cover all aspects concerning the development of organic food and farming in Europe.
- Analyse the relationship between the opportunities for the further development of organic food and farming and the CAP, WTO, Codex and other international agreements.
Eight EU agriculture ministers, representing Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, plus four non-EU members Estonia, Lithuania, Norway and Switzerland, signed the Copenhagen declaration.
The declaration was also endorsed by the Committee of Agricultural Organisations in the European Union (COPA), the European Community of Consumer Cooperatives (Euro Coop), the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
The EEB's main message to the conference in Copenhagen was that organic farming should be better linked to the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP). For instance, organic farmers should benefit as much as possible from Agri-environment payments.
IFOAM's President, Gunnar Rundgren noted that the Copenhagen declaration "was a real break-through for the organic sector in the EU and the rest of Europe, and, as such, also of global significance."
Furthermore, is his closing remarks at the conference, Mr Rundgren said, "The real role of organic agriculture is not to be a recipient of subsidies, it is not even to be a market opportunity - be it niche market or mainstream. The real role is to be a seed of change for the whole society."
At a European conference titled, "Organic Food and Farming - Towards Partnership and Action in Europe", in Copenhagen on 10 and 11 May, 12 European agriculture ministers and several international organisations have called for the creation of a European action plan for the development of organic farming and food within two years.
Organic farming has seen significantly increased interest in light of the various food crises sprouting up around Europe. As a result of such crises as BSE and foot-and-mouth disease, modern agrochemicals and intensive farming methods have come under attack and requests for more organic farming practices have surfaced.