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Reaching the farm to fork target: R&I scenarios for boosting organic farming and organic aquaculture in Europe

 

The EU is taking a leading role in promoting organic farming and aquaculture and organic food production systems, ensuring high quality standards and developing new value chains. One of the goals of the farm to fork strategy is to reach at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 and a significant increase in organic aquaculture. This significant increase needs to be accompanied by a similar increase in the organic market. However, the current distribution of organic farming and aquaculture in the EU and Associated Countries is uneven, and there is a need to understand better the obstacles that prevent their development. A number of factors need to be in place for this increase to happen. Among those, research to identify the possible socio-economic impacts on organic producers and on other operators of the value chain, as well as empowering the organic (crops and livestock) farming, aquaculture and food sectors, are essential. Networking and the coordination of research and innovation activities among all relevant actors in the organic farming and aquaculture sectors can ensure the strategic thinking, mobilisation of resources and sharing of knowledge and best practices that are needed to strengthen the organic R&I ecosystem in the EU and Associated Countries, in order to support the achievement of these objectives.

Proposals should evaluate the constraints and lock-ins for reaching the farm to fork strategy target on organics, and the necessary facilitating environment. Proposals should analyse the uptake of organic (crops and livestock) farming and aquaculture across the EU and Associated Countries and the reasons for their varied uptake.

As part of a foresight exercise, proposals should set out scenarios showing where the expected increase can be achieved, and analyse the socio-economic impacts on existing and new organic producers and other market players.

Proposals should assess various actors’ knowledge needs when it comes to enhancing innovation towards greater adoption of organic farming and aquaculture, so that the target of the farm to fork strategy can be reached. Proposals should promote capacity building and ensure the necessary sharing of knowledge and best practices among organic (crops and livestock) farmers, aquaculture producers, advisors, scientists and other operators in the value chain, building on existing tools where relevant and available.

In undertaking these activities, proposals should promote close cooperation among relevant research and innovation actors across the EU and Associated Countries, ultimately leading to a more efficient organic production R&I ecosystem. As such, proposals should help to preserve and continue existing communities of research providers and research funders, and widen them to include other public or private actors.

Proposals must implement the ‘multi-actor approach’ and ensure a value chain approach, with adequate involvement of the organic farming and aquaculture sectors.

Collaboration should be ensured with other relevant EU-funded research projects and initiatives under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe, including the relevant Horizon Europe partnerships and networking initiatives.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.