COVID-19 severely affects the European organic sector which keeps working tirelessly to deliver organic food to all citizens. We have gathered some information on the impact of the pandemic on agricultural and organic sector for IFOAM EU's members. Here are some highlights.
Among the biggest challenges for the organic sector are:
Harvesting and planting, due to limited movement of people across Europe and to social distancing rules;
physical inspections for organic from control bodies;
direct sales for , as farmers markets are forbidden in many Member States.
On a more positive note,Higher food sales are being reported in several Countries, along with an increased demand for organic products; The demand for box scheme subscriptions and home deliveries are also booming; and many restaurants and catering businesses have started to offer food delivery services to cover consumers' needs.
The European organic movement welcomes several targeted measures introduced by the EU institutions to support the agri-food sector, such as streamlined procedures for imports and exports, extended deadlines and use of advance payments in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). However, IFOAM EU is against possible temporary exemptions from greening requirements and urge caution other measures which could have negative environmental impacts, such as increased flexibility between CAP pillars or the reallocation of Rural Development funds between measures.
Together with different NGOs, IFOAM EU wrote a letter to the Council and the Parliament on measures approved and still being discussed as part of the EU response to COVID-19. You can read it on our website: https://www.ifoam-eu.org/en/news/2020/04/01/joint-letter-measures-support-farmers-face-covid-19-pandemic