In 2017, we launched the ‘Global Policy Toolkit on Public Support to Organic Agriculture’, an overview of policies supporting organic agriculture along with tips and tools for advocates and policy-makers. You can download it free of charge here.
As for any advocacy activity, it is important to know the local administration and political landscape, the political alliances that are in place, the attitudes of different parties and administration units toward environmental issues in general.
Most politicians dealing with agricultural issues will have some idea of what organic agriculture is, and its multiple benefits, but might be unsure of how best to support it.
Position Organic Agriculture
It is therefore important to think about how to position organic agriculture in political discourse. For example, in a country where environmental/health issues are very low on the agenda of the political majority, organic agriculture can be positioned as a promising high value market. Linking organic agriculture to economic benefits for local communities in terms of poverty alleviation, employment rate and/or increasing income can also be an appealing argument to politicians. The US organic Trade Association highlighted how this can work in their research and report on “Organic Hotspots” which shows that organic food and crop production and the business activities accompanying organic agriculture, can create real and long-lasting regional economic opportunities.
Showcase Success Stories
When advocating for change, showcasing positive experiences from other countries can be of great benefit and even inspire others to follow suit. Depending on the policy environment you are operating in, it might be better to advocate for organic in broader terms such as measures in favor of sustainable agriculture or policies that promote rural development and family farming. A good example of which can be seen in the EU where most policy measures that allocated a certain budget to “food quality schemes” ended up disproportionally benefiting organic agriculture.
In the coming months, we will take a closer look at ten ways policy-makers can promote organic agriculture:
- Fund organic research and extension
- Include organic in agricultural education (vocational training and academic programs)
- Fund organic consumer education campaigns
- Support PGS development
- Collect and compile data on organic agriculture
- Start/increase organic public procurement
- Stop subsidizing chemical fertilizers and pesticides
- Subsidize organic certification
- Subsidize investments on organic farming
- Compensate organic farmers for positive externalities