EU Action Plan: Data for organic production

Eline Lincklaen Arriëns

On 25 March 2021, the European Commission presented an Action Plan for the development of organic production. This Action Plan is in line with the EU Green Deal, the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. As the name suggests, the plan aims to boost the production and consumption of organic products to reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030, and to significantly increase organic aquaculture.

There are several expected benefits from organic production. Namely:

  • organic fields have around 30% more biodiversity;
  • organically farmed animals enjoy a higher degree of animal welfare and take fewer antibiotics;
  • organic farmers have higher incomes and are more resilient to disruptions, such as market or weather changes; and
  • consumers are, if all goes well, more informed about what they are getting from the EU organic logo.

To achieve their objectives and realise these benefits, the plan has several action points. One of these action points is to continuously collect data about the environmental, economic, and social benefits of organic farming, and to share this data to inform citizens and farmers about the benefits of organic farming. The availability of this data and analysis in areas such as production, prices along the food supply chain, trade, consumer preferences and specific market channels, will greatly support organic farmers and the agriculture industry. Moreover, it will be essential for shaping, monitoring, and evaluating EU policies on organic production, and will further efforts to regularly gather, analyse, and disseminate data to increase transparency and confidence in the sector.

Looking ahead, I look forward to seeing how this Action Plan will 1) change the current agriculture sector and shape the organic sector, 2) complement the ongoing EU Data Strategy, and 3) if, and how, it will be impacted by the Data Governance Act and implementation.

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