Minister wants more Flemish farmers to go organic

The Flemish Agriculture Minister Joke Schauvliege (Christian democrat) has drafted a new strategic plan for the development of organic agriculture in our region between now and 2022. It is hoped the measure will serve to stimulate the further development of organic agriculture in Flanders.

Flanders is lagging behind Wallonia and countries elsewhere in Europe when it comes to organic farming.

Just one in one hundred Flemish agricultural products is grown or raised organically. This compares to 6% in the EU as a whole and 9% in Wallonia.

In order to encourage organic farming Ms Schauvliege proposes setting up a number of “organic clusters”. There are local cooperative frameworks designed to help increase the number of farmers switching to organic production methods.

The Flemish Agriculture Minister makes the comparison with an oil slick.

"Once there is an organic producer in area it is our intention that this will influence other farmers in the area to make the switch. In addition to this we should try and ensure that consumers find their way to organic producers in their area"

The plan also includes measures to encourage research and innovation. Ms Schauvliege has earmarked 1.4 million euro to this end. This is in addition to the 5 million euro already promised.

"I will be investing a total of 6.4 million euro in organic farming this year. This is a record.”