On 15 January 2013, the EC launched a public consultation on the future of organic production, in the light of the experience of the implementation of the EU’s revised policy framework for organic production. EU organic sector operators that meet European organic product rules, ‘from farm to fork’, have the right to label their products as ‘organic’ and to use the European green leaf logo on the packaging. The use of this label is now mandatory if products are to be sold as organic in the EU.
The consultation concerns:
- ‘possible simplifications’ of existing rules and schemes, without undermining current ‘high standards’;
- the impact of the ‘obligatory use of the European logo on all EU-produced organic products’;
- the challenges of the coexistence of organic farming and GM crops;
- ensuring that internationally traded organic products are effectively monitored and verified, while allowing the smooth functioning of organic trade in future.
The consultations will run from 15 January until 10 April 2013, and submissions to the consultation process can be made via an online questionnaire.
The consultations will provide the basis for EC ‘proposals for a renewed political and legal framework for organic agriculture in Europe’, scheduled for the end of 2013.
As background to the consultation, the EC highlights the ‘ever-increasing consumer demand’ for organic products. Additional information on the EU’s organic production policy can be found in the EC report on ‘the application of Council regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products’, from May 2012.
The EC public consultation provides an opportunity for ACP organic producers to make their views known on any problems they face under the EU’s import regime for organic products, including any market effects which may have been felt as a result of the introduction of the obligatory use of the European green leaf logo.
Submissions could also include issues linked to the difficulties faced by individual ACP governments in negotiating equivalency agreements with the EU on organic standards, and the scope for a pan-ACP programme of support to the negotiations of equivalency agreement, designed to reduce the administrative costs incurred by ACP exporters seeking to serve EU organic markets.