The EU common objective in organic agriculture is very ambitious

The EU common objective in organic agriculture is very ambitious
Monday July 19, in Brussels, Dace Lucaua, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) participated in the EU Council meeting of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries, chaired for the first time by Slovenia, holding presidency of the Council of the EU during this 6-month period, and who presented its program in agriculture and fisheries to the Council.
At the meeting, Member States exchanged their opinions and endorsed the Council’s conclusions on the operation plan for development of organic agriculture. Latvia supports conclusions made by the Council and until now it has provided a purposeful support to the development of organic agriculture from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding, and in the future, it is also planned to provide a particular support for organic agriculture from the CAP funding. A new type of support is also planned for reorientation of conventional farms to organic farming.
 “Currently, we can support organic farmers mainly from CAP financing”, said Dace Lucaua, the MoA State Secretary: “Organic agriculture is a special sector, which must be supported. In Latvia, already now, 14% of agricultural land is organic area that is among the best indicators in European Union. Thus, Latvia has a very good starting point. However, it must be noted that the EU-level objective – by 2030, to increase organic farming areas to 25 percent – is a very ambitious one.” 
The European Commission informed Member States about foreign trade topicalities. Latvia considers that requirements to imported goods must be equal to those applied to the EU producers, and in negotiations with third countries an agreement must be reached that these countries will meet the same standards as the EU producers.
Also, on the agenda of the Ministers was the initiative of the European nationals concerning animal welfare “End the Cage Age”. Latvia considers that it is very significant that when COM prepares an impact assessment, to evaluate very carefully the impact on the development of agriculture, competitiveness of the EU producers on the EU single market and third countries’ market as well as availability of food and its quality.
The planned impact assessment must cover the situation in all 27 EU Member States as there are differences among Member States at the level of animal welfare, purchasing power of inhabitants, amounts of eggs imported from and exported to third countries and many other aspects, which influences the situation in every Member State individually. Just as the available CAP financing also differs, and a lower CAP support means a considerably less possibilities for the State to support producers in their transition to higher welfare standards. It must be clearly understood that raising of animal welfare standards is not impossible, but it requires considerable financial resources that should be allocated additionally from EU funds specifically for this aim.
Information prepared:
Rūta Rudzīte
Public Relations speciālist
Telephone: +371 67027498
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