SKIS synpunkter på EUs aktionsplan för
ekologiska livsmedel och odling
Towards a European Action Plan
for organic food and farming
To take part in this consultation, you simply
have to download the Consultation Document, take time to read it, then
fill in the answering form below and return it to us (by clicking on the
"Submit" button) before 16 March 2003.
Your replies will be analysed and used in developing
the Action Plan. A summary of the input received will be published on
the European Commission's Agriculture web site in the course of the
summer. The final Action Plan will be published at the end of 2003.
Reply of the Swedish Consumer Coalition:
1. Marketing: Developing and facilitating various
systems for organic produce sales. Do you think this is ...
"Very important" - Marketing efforts
should be very personal, with farmers and consumers meeting more directly
face-to-face than in conventional sales. This should emphasise that
the organic food production chain is about real values, not marketing
slogans. For consumers in cities, it is very important to understand
the conditions of rural development and sustainable farming and to learn
about the food quality directly from the people who produce the food.
2. Targeting: Targeting organic farming to environmentally
sensitive areas. Do you think this is ...
"Very important" - To explain the benefits
of organic farming, it could be positive indeed to show that efforts
are made to protect water (by targeting farmers in areas near rivers)
or to develop biodiversity (by targeting farmers who try to rescue and
develop rare breeds and landraces). Targeting should not be a process
that excludes those who have already made efforts to change their farming
systems to organic.
3. Adviser service: Encouraging the exchange
of technical information between farmers. Do you think this is ...
"Very important" - It is very important
that adviser service is available to all who may want to convert to
organic farming, and also that this is a sustained effort (not only
a short-term effort).
4. CAP: Ensuring that the Common Agricultural
Policy supports the development of organic farming. Do you think this
"Very important" - We think CAP should
support the development of organic farming, with a focus on environmental
protection, animal welfare and real food quality.
5. Traceability: Ensuring traceability and organic
food authenticity. Do you think this is ...
"Very important" - Traceability is
important not only as you mention for "authenticity" but to
transmit the value-based holistic essence of organic farming methods
all the way to the consumer. Traceability should mean that information
is available in the shop, for example through bar-codes and truthful
labelling. It is also good to see the name of the farmer on the product,
as well as other important information regarding any special treatment
during farming or in the factory. Related issues such as Fair Trade
and/or Corporate Social Responsibility can also be communicated through
traceability systems for the organic food sector. It is very important
that someone is responsible for the information and that consumers can
ask questions about the organic food. We identify traceability as the
key to creating real links between farmers and consumers.
6. Logo: Reinforce the use of the EU logo. Do
you think this is ...
"Very important" - The EU logo should
not be made mandatory unless there has been a debate about it and a
consensus has evolved around this issue. It could take ten years or
longer. Conflicts should be avoided by open exchange of ideas and an
increased effort to include farmers and consumers in the rule-making.
The Article 14 Committee, for example, is not seen as functioning very
well today as it is not transparent and not accountable. Also, the EU
logo would have to be made well-known through extensive (and expensive)
campaigns in all languages. We think the current EU logo needs to be
re-designed as it is difficult to understand. One possibility would
be to use the EU logo in conjunction with a national or private logo.
We think efforts should be made to avoid too many organic logos on the
7. Private standards: The access to information
(common database) on additional standards and inspection requirements
where they exist. Do you think this is ...
"Very important" - Open consultations
are important to make the rules for private standards better. Information
should be made available on the Internet. The work should be done together
with IFOAM as they have the global perspective. Also, Codex Alimentarius
should be given funding to put this important work on its agenda, for
example by making a special Codex Task Force for Organic Food, hosted
by a EU country and with funding for developing countries to participate.
8. Testing methods: The harmonisation of testing
methods, control procedures, supervision and accreditation together
with efficient co-operation between all actors involved in the inspection
system, including Community inspections. Do you think this is ...
9. Import: The implementation of appropriate
standardised procedures to ensure that imported products respect both
fair competition with EU products and EU commitments regarding developing
countries. Do you think this is ...
"Very important" - Both EU standards
and private standards must become more open to organic foods from developing
countries. Organic standards should avoid becoming seen as trade barriers.
Especially organic foods from Least Developed Countries must be given
better access to the EU market.
10. Standards: The establishment of a body for
delivering independent, excellent and transparent advice on which production
methods, substances etc. can be accepted in order to assure conformity
with the principles of organic farming. Do you think this is ...
"Important" - Consumer organisations
should be able to participate in the work.
11. Statistical data: The collection and communication
of official statistical data on production, consumption, and trade (EU
imports and exports) on a more permanent basis. Do you think this is
12. Research: The effective funding of research
in organic farming from the point of view of food safety and quality,
including expanding research into the development of new products and
processing methods and the environmental sustainability of organic farming,
and into comparison studies between organic and conventional food. Do
you think this is ...
Apart from the proposals listed above, what else
do you think could be done in order to facilitate organic farming in
We do not agree that "all or at least almost
all food products should indeed be available as organic" (2.1.2
Processing). On the contrary, organic foods should maintain a specific
identity and be seen as more natural, less processed than the ordinary
large-scale mass-produced food. Organic foods must be an alternative,
to avoid large agro-business that only has profit as its motive. If
this means conventional food production changes to become more similar
to the organic food production (with no GMO, no additives etc), then
we have achived real sustainable development and created a better model
for healthy food production. The Organic Action Plan should set a specific
target to achieve this goal. Thus, we propose that the OAP should set
an ambitious target aiming for 20 percent organic food farming in ten
years in Europe. Thank you for this opportunity to make our voice heard.