A new legal framework on organic agriculture which came into effect on 1 January could provide a boost to the sector, agri-food information agency EFEAgro wrote.

Initially due to take force last January but delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislation – Regulation 2018/48 on organic production and labelling of organic products – aims to standardise European regulations and give stability to the sector, according to the report.

Europe has set a target of achieving 25% of agricultural land being organic by 2030 and increasing organic product consumption.

The new Action Plan for Organic Agriculture was presented last March by European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski.

Diego Canga, the senior adviser of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture (DG Agri), told EFEAgro that the document aimed to give a “new impetus - with the 25% quantified target” - to increase green areas in Europe.

“The organic farming model is standardised, gives stability to the sector for many years and allows group certifications,” Canga said, adding that it would lower costs for small organic farmers.

Spain has the largest organic area within the EU, at 2.44M ha in 2020, according to the latest data from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA).

However, the consumption of organic products in Spain was below the European average, Canga added, saying that local, regional and state authorities should encourage “green public procurement”.

An increase in the consumption of organic food would lead to lower prices and respond to sustainability issues that customers were demanding, he said.

MAPA sources told EFEAgro that the new regulation would also improve competition between European products and those from other countries and help prevent fraud.

The new legislation would also cover new products including cotton, essential oils and cork, the sources said.

However, Spanish ecological organisation Ecovalia had reservations about the legislation and its president Álvaro Barrera said “the sector has neither requested it nor is it prepared for this new change”.