Agroecology and organic action plans – time for England to catch up? (ORC/APPG Agroecology)

Chair:Ruth West (Senior advisor, APPG on Agroecology /The Real Farming Trust)

Scotland is launching a new organic action plan. France has had an agroecology action plan since 2014, embracing pesticide and antibiotic reduction, pollinators, organic farming and agroforestry. Many other EU countries have similar action plans, some like Denmark closely integrating them with their Rural Development Plans. Could a new action plan for England make a difference?

Session summary

Key conclusions

Action points

Individual speaker presentations and abstracts

Wendy Seel (Chair, Scottish Organic Forum): Building a new Organic Action Plan for Scotland – process, progress and insights (2.83mb pdf file)

The new Scottish organic action plan will be launched today, 27th January 2016. The plan has been built from the bottom up, and has involved a large number of stakeholders. This presentation will describe the plan, the process used to in its development, and lessons learnt along the way.

Eric Giry (French Embassy): The French agroecology action plan: goals, process and results

The French agroecology project reflects the concerns found elsewhere in the world:

  • The challenge of food and nutritional security — providing high-quality, safe and healthy products to over nine billion people by 2050;
  • The social challenge of combating both poverty in the agricultural world and the rural exodus, and increasing the resilience of production systems to unforeseen events.
  • The environmental challenge of conserving resources and responding to the issues of climate change.

Agriculture is obliged to change and adapt in response to them. Going forward, agriculture must move beyond conflicting views on growth models and ensure changes in agriculture and the agricultural and food-processing industries are part of a forward- looking approach.

France launched its agroecology project in response to these issues in 2012. This is an ambitious, inspirational project that aims to shift agriculture towards the objective of combining economic, environmental and social performance. It has given rise to a wide-ranging action plan, broken down into a variety of projects covering all areas (teaching, support for farmers, reorientation of public support, public and private research, etc.). The project is a joint development between the French Ministry of Agriculture and all key players in the sector.

Susanne Padel/Nic Lampkin (ORC): Review of European organic action plans and best practice examples (347kb pdf file)

National or regional organic action plans (OAPs) have been used increasingly to support organic farming across Europe since the mid 1990s. We present the key conclusions of a study conducted by ORC for IFOAM, reviewing recent experiences with OAPs and similar initiatives across Europe in 2015. In the 32 European countries, we found 14 with a current national OAP (10) or similar initiative (4). Often the impetus to develop an action plan comes from government, sometimes integrated with their Rural Development Programmes. We found several good examples, where lessons learned from a previous action plan shaped the development of the next one, but also lapsing plans and lack of continuity. One common weakness (with some notable exceptions) is that many OAPs do not have specific targets or budgets for consultation and implementation, except for producer support which is covered by the CAP. One important lesson for the organic sector is that OAPs are a strategic instrument for achieving organic sector goals and wider governmental policy objectives and for mobilising resources, rather than a policy goal in itself.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *