Farming and Agriculture

Boosting organic farming & aquaculture to reach EU Farm to Fork targets – OT4EU project has begun

20 December 2022, EU: In its Farm to Fork Strategy and Biodiversity Strategy, the European Union has set targets to reach at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming and significantly increase organic aquaculture by 2030. OrganicTargets4EU, a Horizon Europe project, is supporting the achievement of these targets. FiBL Europe, FiBL Switzerland and the Hungarian Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (ÖMKi) take part in the project consortium of this recently launched project.

Funded by the European Union’s research programme Horizon Europe,  the project OrganicTargets4EU, “Transformation scenarios for boosting organic farming and organic aquaculture towards the Farm-to-Fork targets,” launched on September 1, 2022.

That means an increase of approximately 15%, Bram Moeskops, project coordinator and Research and Innovation Manager at IFOAM Organics Europe, explains: “The organic sector needs to grow from 9.2% farmland in 2020 to 25% farmland by 2030. There is no concrete target for organic aquaculture, but a similar almost three-fold growth will require enormous efforts. Reaching these ambitious goals demands a balanced upscaling of both production and consumption and implies a huge transformation in farm structures and value chains. This transformation needs to be supported by pioneering research and innovation (R&I), strong advisory services, effective knowledge exchange and training opportunities for all organic operators and related professionals.”

Scenarios for reaching the organic targets

Based on an assessment of drivers and lock-ins affecting the development of the organic sector, the OrganicTargets4EU project will set up a multi-actor process to develop possible scenarios for reaching the organic targets of the Farm to Fork Strategy.

The project is structured into two strands:

  • Production and markets: analysing how to achieve increases in organic farmland and the (socio-economic) impacts for primary production, value chains and markets.
  • Knowledge and innovation: identifying opportunities to strengthen advisory services, building on the CORE Organic network*, increasing and better coordinating R&I investment for organic, and working towards an innovation ecosystem fit for achieving the Farm to Fork Strategy’s targets.
Multi-actor approach at the project’s core

Eight focus countries will help bridge the gap between science and practice: Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Romania. These were selected to cover Europe’s full range of geographical contexts. Each focus country is represented by a ‘Practice Partner’, with close connections to producers and value chain actors.

OrganicTargets4EU will also facilitate a multi-actor policy dialogue to assess the feasibility of the organic Farm to Fork targets and develop policy recommendations for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), EU organic regulation, EU and national organic action plans, Horizon Europe, and horizontal legislation on inputs and public procurement.

FiBL takes on diverse roles in OT4EU

The project utilises FiBL’s extensive knowledge and databases in the organic sector to identify drivers and lock-ins for the development of the organic sector, providing the bases for the foresight and scenario analysis. The Organic Farm Knowledge platform’s toolbox will be further expanded, with practice partners, aiming to provide useful end-user materials to farmers and advisors. Additionally, FiBL will produce new knowledge with involvement in communication and dissemination activities, including digital country factsheets, media articles, scientific papers, videos, practice abstracts and policy briefs, for the benefit of all target stakeholders: most notably farmers, researchers and policymakers.

Additionally, FiBL EU’s expertise in project management and administration is utilised, supporting technical and financial reporting, the data management plan, exploitation, and stakeholder collaboration.

ÖMKi is in charge of the task “assessment of the knowledge and innovation systems for organic agriculture, aquaculture and for processors and retailers” and the task on “Increasing the availability of advisory services and capacity building”.

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