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“Batting Away the Baddies” – Organic Food, Cancer, Herbicides and History

Cancer is an emotive topic, so when a team of French researchers say a higher frequency of organic food consumption was associated with a reduced risk of cancer people will inevitably take note – and try to take apart the study. Meanwhile, Roundup, a tool of conventional farming and land management is in the dock – and loosing – over it relationship with cancer. Oliver Moore reports, adding some broader and historical context. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Ireland | More Organic Producers Would Improve Farming’s Overall Sustainability

With Ireland edging towards reopening its organic farming scheme – closed since 2015 to new entrants, and closed in 2014 for a year too too – the context of organic farming within the overall agri-food sector is worth exploring. What would it mean for Irish agriculture in general to have a bigger, more vibrant organic sector? Particular attention is paid to the public goods of biodiversity and water quality. […]

Latest from Brussels

New EU Organic Regulation Agreed

A preliminary agreement has been reached after 20 months of trilogue negotiations between EU Commission, Council of Ministers and European Parliament for a new organic regulation. The main outstanding issues, which delayed agreement for so long have either been settled or deferred. Here’s what this means. […]

Latest from EU Member States

#MilkCrisis | Lessons from France’s Organic Dairy Sector

The organic dairy sector in France has significant differences – but also some commonalities – with the conventional dairy sector. Rising consumer demand, producer organisations, and regional feed crop supply are among the differences – as is the decoupling of organic and conventional prices. […]

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Czech Agriculture – using CAP for agroecology?

Czech Republic is the European Union country with the highest share of arable land, around 38% of its surface. Despite this fact, recent trends give clear evidence for an enormous decrease of agricultural land due to the expansion of urbanization and industrialization plans across the country. However the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU) could potentially push Czech Republic to promote an environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture. The process of land degradation in Czech Republic has its roots in the agricultural land expropriations of the 1950s done by the communist regime. During that time agricultural policy focused mostly on the large-scale consolidation of farmlands as well as on highly intensive methods of production through the use of agrochemicals without consideration of potential environmental risks.  In light of the „Velvet revolution“ in 1989 the political and economic changes gave rise various agricultural currents, from agroindustry to organic farming. Already in 1990 the Ministry for Agriculture established its own department for „alternative agriculture“, handing out Governmental support in form of direct subsidies to […]

Latest from Brussels

Will organic farming save “unbalanced” Romanian agriculture?

According to recent figures released by Eurostat, Romanian agriculture is highly unbalanced. That is not the big surprise. In the last 20 years the country’s agricultural landscape was in a continuous transformation; agrarian reforms without a long term vision, real estate and agribusiness “cowboys” from all over the world speculating on low prices, productions focusing mostly on export commodities…all in a country of peasants versus their institutional neighbours. The surprise lies in how different stakeholders interpret these figures. Let’s have a look. According to the EU analysis, Romania is the 8th agricultural power of Europe and for the year of 2014 has an agricultural production estimated to 15.5 billion Euro (1160 Euro/hectare). Poland was the only other ex-communist country which outranked Romania having a 22.5 billion Euro (1660 Euro/hectar) production. The top ranks go to France, with its 70.5 billion Euro and Germany – 51 billion Euro production. Where is the great unbalance? Crop production amounts for 73% of the total, 26% being attributed to animal farming and only 1% represents agricultural services. On the […]