Van Gerven presents incentive plan for organic agriculture

13 September 2016

Van Gerven presents incentive plan for organic agriculture

Foto: SP

An incentive plan for organic agriculture is badly needed. For this reason SP Member of Parliament has presented a plan – in the form of what is known in the Dutch parliamentary system as an “initiative note” – to strengthen the sector. “We don’t want agriculture which leads to pollution of the environment, puts our health at risk and harms the welfare of animals,” he says. “Organic agriculture is a good, sustainable alternative and can contribute to better farming. Government after government has unfortunately set the sector back. It’s time rather to provide it with incentives.”

The European average for organic agriculture measured by land use is 5.7%. The Netherlands comes in at only 2.5%, way behind – amongst others - Austria (19.4%), Switzerland (12.7%), Sweden (16.4%) and Germany (6.3%). In those countries an active state policy is pursued aimed at encouraging organic methods. In the Netherlands such a policy was abolished by the government in 2011. “The results are visible,” says Van Gerven. “Organic agriculture has taken a hefty blow.”

With this incentive plan the SP breaks with austerity policies and gives priority to organic agriculture. “More must be invested in the sector, so that within ten years the proportion in agriculture as a whole is quadrupled,” says Van Gerven. ”To this end we want to see better training made available to farmers who want to go over to organic. Many farmers in addition balk at the high cost of certification. Costs should be reimbursable through a straightforward procedure. Finally we propose that organic agriculture be given priority when it comes to dividing up EU farm subsidies.”

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