As Europe debates the anticipated changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the European Commission suggested its commitment to organic farming with the announcement that it has launched an Internet consultation about its future.
Based on a working document that analyses the possibility of a European action plan for organic food and farming, members of the public have the opportunity to voice their opinions on questions such as how to ensure that the CAP supports the development of organic farming, and the traceability and authenticity of organic food.
The working document, which proposes a number of ideas for this future action plan, also aims to describe the development of organic farming in the EU and analyse where bottlenecks exist in production and marketing processes.
"Organic farming lies close to the heart of many consumers. This online consultation provides them with the opportunity to voice their opinions on a future action plan for organic farming. This is another step to make the CAP more transparent and consumer oriented," said Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries.
The main elements identified in the working paper are developing and facilitating various systems for sales of organic produce, targeting organic farming to environmentally sensitive areas, encouraging the exchange of technical information between farmers, ensuring that the CAP supports the development of organic farming, ensuring traceability and authenticity of organic food, and, among others reinforcing the use of the EU logo.
The public has until 16 March 2003 to submit their reactions and ideas and a summary of the results of the online consultation will be published this summer.