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Organic paves the way for a better future

BIOFACH 2023: Important statements on the focal theme "We are paving the path into a better future" were made by Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir - "Organic is essential for biodiversity and against the climate crisis" - and BÖLW Executive Director Tina Andres - "We are facing a turning point in global food security and sovereignty".

Two video reviews with excerpts from the speeches and impressions from Biofach (English under titles)

Tina Andres, Federal Association of the Organic Food Sector (BÖLW), emphasised at the press conference: "2022 was a very challenging year, but the organic sector is resilient and is emerging stronger from this time of multiple crises. A transparent cost truth for food that respects and strengthens global food sovereignty is one of the big issues and the task of our time.

"Özdemir" as a benchmark for a successful socio-ecological transformation

During the opening event, none of the speakers holds back on praising the industry's achievements. Minister Cem Özdemir made clear what has already been achieved and that he wants to do everything possible to make organic even stronger. But there was also no shortage of necessary measures and demands, Tina Andres formulated very clearly and directly addressed to Özdemir where he still needs to improve: "The price must show the true costs of food production so that consumers can decide and exert their influence for a better future for all", said Tina Andres. She confidently highlighted the strengths of the organic sector: organic is resilient, as the multiple crises have shown. Andres stressed that organic is the solution to the biodiversity, climate and other crises and that politicians must therefore urgently support the sector, as promised by the ministry. In addition, he said, GMO-free food was an important consumer demand. "We need change and innovative ways to advance the socio-ecological transformation not only in Germany and Europe, but also worldwide," Andres said, addressing Minister Cem Özdemir. Karen Mapusua, President of IFOAM Organics International also drew attention to the situation of lacking food security and sovereignty in the countries of the Global South.

Great potential in out-of-home catering

Nuremberg's mayor Marcus König gave good examples of activities in "organic cities" in Europe and called for more organic at all levels, from kindergarten to public canteens. The network of organic companies and politics has more potential and is an engine for jobs, he said. "Above all, we also need more support for good food for children and educational work, ideally in connection with producers on farms.

Özdemir: Making organic even stronger

"Organic is essential for biodiversity and in the fight against the climate crisis, said Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, agreeing with Andres. "It is my responsibility to think in terms of the future of farming systems and to ensure food security for the next generations. The organic farming system is one solution." He enumerated the benefits of organic farming along the entire value chain and highlighted some policy activities that have already been adopted and are now being implemented. He gave some examples from the Organic Future Strategy and explained how millions are planned to reach the target of 30% organic area and market share by 2030. He also mentioned increasing the organic share in public canteens and eating out as one of his topics and that the ministry has paved the way to establish this by decree.

A showcase of good concepts

Petra Wolf, Nürnberg Messe, informed about the food trends among the numerous new products and innovations. All players had recognised that the food industry is part of the problem of overloading planetary boundaries. As the world's leading trade fair, BIOFACH depicts the entire value chain from the field to the plate and shows how sustainable organic agriculture and food management work. And it proves that the organic sector can be part of the solution. A showcase of good concepts, said Wolf.

Diana Schaack from the German AMI (AgrarMarktInformation) explained the organic market development: Organic can largely maintain the large increase in sales from the Corona period. Organic sales in Germany in 2022 were EUR 15.3 billion, 25 per cent above the pre-Corona year 2019 and only 3.5 per cent below 2021. Despite people returning to restaurants and canteens, most of which do not offer organic, organic was able to retain newly acquired customers from the pandemic period.

Author: Karin Heinze, BiO Reporter International

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