Where does the CAP reform leave organic agriculture?

Many, though not all, of the substantive aspects of CAP reform are completed. This includes an explicit legal article – Article 30 – supporting organic farming in the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) regulation. So where does this leave organic farming? And what will the period 2014-2020 bring?

Emma Hockeridge - head of policy for the Soil Association

According to the UK’s Soil Association: “Previously, organic farming has been included as one element in agri-environment schemes. The new shape of CAP for 2014 to 2020 also specifically supports organic farming in Pillar 1, recognising it as ‘green by definition,’ and being able to deliver many important benefits.”

However on the ground, the situation is still not as clear as it might be, because of broader funding uncertainties and variable national obligations.

Christopher Stopes, President of IFOAM EU Group, part of the ARC2020 network, has said “while the recognition of organic farms as ‘green by definition’ is a good step to acknowledge their pioneering role in sustainability, the agreement also includes a questionable equivalence principle and exemptions for low-level agri-environmental practices which empty the greening of all substance.”

Jan Plagge - President of Bioland

The all important Pillar 2 funding is key, according to the President of the German organic farmers’ association BiolandJan Plagge.The few positive moves – such as increased investment support connected to organic farming and agri-environment-climate schemes, a clear message that new Innovation Partnerships must support a transition to agro-ecological approaches, and the introduction of an extra article governing support schemes for organic farming – can only have an impact if there is significant funding allocated to Pillar 2,” he says.

He continues “the possibility for Member States to spend major parts of the budget for insurance schemes and other measures without any positive impact on sustainability further undermines the potential for Pillar 2 to promote the shift towards sustainable farming.”

Ominiously, while money can be sent from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2, the reverse can happen too.

There is still then, much to play, or perhaps fight for, in terms of support for Pillar 2 in general and organic farming in particular.

For more on the organic movement see Oliver Moore’s blog which hosts almost 400 articles, mostly on organic farming and food.

Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 196 Articles
Dr. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     A propos d'Oliver Moore Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activitĂ© professionnelle. Il peut nĂ©anmoins admirer par la fenĂȘtre de son bureau les mĂ©sanges charbonniĂšres et les corbeaux perchĂ©s au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cƓur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisĂ©s, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant Ă  la communautĂ©. Les jours oĂč il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sĂšches et les jardins familiaux.  Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant Ă©galement des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »).  Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne Ă©galement des cours sur le Master en coopĂ©ratives, agroalimentaire et dĂ©veloppement durable Ă  l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large. Il consacre la majoritĂ© de son temps de travail Ă  l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date Ă  laquelle l’Irlande a assurĂ© la prĂ©sidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est lĂ  qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grĂące Ă  sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. AprĂšs six mois, il est nommĂ© rĂ©dacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des mĂ©dias sociaux, aide Ă  dĂ©finir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois mĂȘme rĂ©dige un article pour le site web.  À l’époque oĂč on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, oĂč il a aidĂ© des ONG irlandaises de commerce Ă©quitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – Ă  raconter leur histoire. Il se peut que ces jours-lĂ  reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de prĂ©fĂ©rer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. AprĂšs tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilitĂ©s de bĂ©nĂ©volat dans la communautĂ© dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.