New laws on organic farming announced by EU

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A draft law to harmonise the rules on organic farming have been announced by the Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos.

In a statement on 25 March 2014, Mr Ciolos said various derogations and exceptions in the current rules will be scrapped.

He said the current mandatory physical verification of compliance with EU rules will be ended, saying the sector would move towards a "risk-based approach".

The new regulation would also allow smaller farms to join organic farming, by allowing them to sign up to a "group certification system", in a bid to reduce red tape on smaller businesses.

Consumer spending on organic products amounted to €20bn across the EU in 2012, according to the European Commission.

There are more than 186,000 farms across Europe, making up around 5.4% of the total agricultural area in the EU.

The draft regulation now needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.

Due to May's European Parliament elections, it is likely that the proposal will not be scrutinised until the next parliamentary term.

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