The Walloon Minister for Agriculture, René Collin, confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that 100% organic agriculture was not a Utopia, but a “very long term” objective. Ecolo sees this as “the burial” of the proposals of the Minister of the Environment, Carlo Di Antonio, who had called for this objective to be met by the period 2025-2030.
Last year (2015), there were some 1,350 organic farmers in Wallonia. “We may need at least 2,000 such farmers in 2020, and this is a feasible objective,” the Minister for ‘Agriculture says.
René Collin also hopes that the 7.4% of workable agricultural land which is already organic, will go up to 18% in 2020. Wallonia can work towards a 100% organic agriculture objective in 30 or 40 years.
The Minister from the Luxembourg province is very clear that “Nobody can oppose this goal.”
He is quick to add that this can only grow, as long as this is practicable for everybody. He accepts that there are European changes regarding organic conditions to be implemented, that the system needs to be economically profitable and that consumers must be prepared to change their buying habits on a sustained basis.
To sum up, Collin says, “This is not a Utopia, but a very very long term objective.”
The deputy, Matthieu Daele (Ecolo), questioned during a plenary debate, perceives that a burial of the “contribution” in this debate by Mr Di Antonio (the cdH – Humanist Democratic Centre) has occurred.
Questioned last May in La Libre on Walloon agriculture, Di Antonio had instigated an appeal for “Wallonia to be 100% organic” by the period 2025-2030.
Collin stressed for the benefit of Matthieu Daele, “We should not confuse the objective of organic agriculture and Wallonia having a zero tolerance of pesticides. These are two different things.”
At Di Antonio’s office, where several measures going in the direction of a zero-pesticides policy for Wallonia have already been taking shape, the appeal launched by the Hainaut Minister for 100% organic agriculture was confirmed.
This is the case, but it must be noted that the zero-pesticides policy was compulsory to attain in the sense that it had to be imposed.
On the other hand, organic agriculture involves following a number of obligations, which also depend upon Europe, and thus it necessitates a long transition period.