Consumers' trust in organic products together with a demand for stricter rules at EU level, are among the main elements coming out of the report on the public consultation on the future of organic farming published today by the European Commission. The on-line consultation, which took place in the first half of 2013, has attracted major interest with close to 45,000 responses.
The report highlights that consumers trust organic products (71%), that they buy them mainly out of concern about the environment (83%), and because they are free from GMOs and pesticide residues (81%). The vast majority (78%) also indicated that they were prepared to pay more for organic goods. The report also shows a very strong demand for harmonized rules at EU level, with 74% of all respondents requesting European organic standard to be strengthened and 86% wishing organic rules to be uniform across the EU. More than half of the interviewees also strongly required to improve the European control system for organic products.
Regarding animal welfare, more than 60% of respondents strongly insisted on strengthening animal welfare standards for all types of agricultural production systems. A third of respondents (34%) underlined that organic farmers should be obliged to comply with specific rules for animal welfare and 23% considered that animal welfare standards in organic farming should systematically be higher than in conventional farming. Furthermore, 49% of respondents stated that organic livestock should be fed with 100% feed from the farm or region. 27% of respondents opted for setting a minimum percentage of feed for organic livestock that should be from the farm or region. 16% of respondents considered that as long as feed is of organic quality, it could come from any location.
The majority of the respondents (66%) indicated that the effective solution for addressing the shortage of organic protein-rich feed in Europe is to introduce in the EU legislation, initiatives to boost European production of organic protein crops. In addition, 61% found that a specific organic protein-crop production strategy should be developed.
Thursday September 19, 2013/ Agriculture and Rural Development/ European Union.