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Organics farmers call for fair prices and recognition of public goods delivery

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As thousands of organic farmers have joined protests across Europe, the organic food and farming movement calls for fair prices for both consumers and farmers who adopt greener practices but warns that legitimate concerns about unfair prices and competition should not be misguided against health and nature protection.

“Farmers who engage in the agroecological transition are not properly remunerated neither by the market nor by the CAP”, explains Jan Plagge, president of IFOAM Organics Europe. “Organic farmers also suffer from low prices and unfair competition by less ambitious standards, despite delivering many benefits for the environment and society. Many organic farmers risk abandoning organic certification without better support from retailers and policymakers.”

“But legitimate concerns about unfair prices and competition should not be misdirected against health and nature protection. The Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy are critical policies and cannot be blamed as the cause of farmers’ difficulties, since most legal proposals related to agriculture have been blocked, rejected or watered down, and have had zero impact on farmers so far.” Nature protection is not directed against farmers, rather other actors in the food supply must share environmental responsibilities instead of burdening farmers. The transition to sustainable food systems cannot rest solely on the shoulders of organic farmers and consumers willing to pay more for food production methods that preserve the climate and biodiversity.”

The prices paid to organic farmers have gone down in the last two years in several countries and are sometimes equal to prices paid to conventional farmers, yet retailers continue to sell organic products at a premium, resulting in higher profit margins while organic farmers are suffering.

“Farmers need fair prices that reflect their production costs, and this is even more true for farmers who take the risk of engaging in more sustainable farming practices such as organic farming.” 

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