The Bio 2030 Manifesto

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The Bio 2030 Manifesto is what the Sana, International Exhibition of Organic and Natural Products, held in Bologna on 6-9.9.19, leaves us with. Organic, as it turns out, is growing in food and cosmetics, in Italy and Europe.

Organic has broken free from the narrow circles of niche stores. To explode, literally, on the retail shelf. And it is reasserting itself in direct sales, including through peasant farming(still orphaned by law) and online gardens. Short supply chain is cultured, respectful, fair and sustainable supply chain. Perhaps even digitally tracked, with a public blockchain system accessible to all. (1)

The Bio 2030 Manifesto

The Bio 2030 Manifesto, presented at Sana 2019, was shared and defined by institutions and associations representing the organic sector supply chain in Italy. Following are the ten points on which the policy document is structured:

1 – active agriculture to meet the climate challenge,

2 – the importance of theagro-ecological approach,

3 – Strengthen the elements of organic distinctiveness,

4-conversion of animal husbandry to organic, for the best guarantee of animal welfare,

5 – the crucial role of rules and controls,

6 – the key role of innovation and digital revolution,

7 – spatial development models,

8 – information and importance of traceability, (1)

9 – Adoption of a national organic logo,

10 – communication and awareness:

– Enhancement of widespreadnutrition education,

– The role of the proactive consumer.

The Manifesto program is embodied in a calendar of initiatives to follow, from now to the next few years. To bring about an ‘organic revolution’ in Italy involving the development of an innovative agriculture, capable of coping with climate change, equipped with its own national identifying logo, in compliance with EU rules. This path is accompanied by the effective involvement of consumAtors, to strengthen the ‘pressure from below’ toward individual and collective choices more in keeping with the current needs of the planet. Under the banner of Respect, towards ecosystems and individuals, and solidarity.

Made in Italy organic, the champions of Europe.

Italy is the leading country in Europe in terms of exports of organic products, which in 2018 was close to 2.3 billion euros (+10% over 2017, +597% since 2008) and accounts for 5.5% of total exports in the agri-food sector. This outperforms the domestic market, where organic occupies 3.7 percent of sales. Europe is the main destination market for Made in Italy organic products (77 percent of total exports) France (22 percent) and Germany (17 percent) at the top, but also Scandinavia (7 percent), Spain (6 percent), Eastern Europe (6 percent) and Benelux (6 percent). Outside the EU, exports go to the US, Japan (6 percent) and China (3 percent).

Our country is a reference internationally for food quality, valuing biodiversity and local varieties, and organic is the most consistent production method for valuing the local origin of food. And this is also to avoid the risk of a renewed run-up in prices for organic food at the expense of farmers’ and citizens’ income in terms of food quality. We must affirm the principle of “fair price” of agricultural products and become a useful reference for the rest of agriculture as well.

The growth of organic is not just about market aspects; it involves land governance, biodiversity protection, and combating and adapting to climate change; growing organic agriculture means investing in combating and mitigating climate change‘. (Maria Grazia Mammuccini, Federbio, President)

Utilized Agricultural Area (UAA) in organic crops continues to grow (+3%, 2018 over 2017) and has almost reached 2 million hectares. From 2010 to the present, the UAA under organic cultivation has almost doubled (+75%). With a slight increase also in the average areas dedicated by each farm, the number of which has in fact increased by 65 percent. The consumption of organic products in Italy has in turn more than doubled in the last five years (+102%, since 2013).

And so organic food sales in 2018 reached 4.089 billion (+5.3%, 2018 over 2017, +171% over the past decade. With real exploits in the large-scale retail trade (GDO, +9% in 2018 compared with the previous year) and discount stores (+20%).

Sustainable consumption, the organic revolution

Attention to health, the environment and sustainable consumption are driving the growth of organic in Italy. 86% of Italian consumAtors now qualify as ‘conscious organic buyers’ (they were 53% in 2012). Thanks to increasing supermarket shelf availability, certified products have reached 3.7 percent of total sales (estimated first half of 2019, up from a modest 0.7 percent in 2000).

Italians choose organic products because they express significant values for consumer choices: 52 percent buy organic because they are healthy/do well, 47 percent because they offer greater guarantees of safety and quality, 26 percent because they respect the environment and pollute less‘ (Sana, press release).

Retail has been able to pick up on this trend, to the point that there are now 4,323 references on the shelf (up 28 percent from 2018), 161 on average in each store (BioBank data). And the growth is likely to continue, to the extent that products are available in every category and their prices are affordable to all. Be it by recognizing the greater value of each other’s productions. In the direction of mindful consumption, which in fact explain the success of the Cash Mob initiative, #iovotocolportfolio. And of waste reduction, at the system and household level.



Responsible Production

and Consumption
– Sustainable Development Goal no. 12, among the 17 SDGs(Sustainable Development Goals) in UN Agenda 2030, is therefore not so far away. Signs of hope come fromCoop Italia’s latest report, among others. And the way forward is mapped out, precisely, by the Bio Manifesto-not surprisingly-2030.

#Égalité!

Dario Dongo and Sabrina Bergamini

Notes

(1) Traceability of the organic supply chain could, among other things, be developed through a public blockchain system where analyses of soils and products could be included in addition to data on material flows. Of note in this regard is the project of Wiise Chain S.r.l. benefit company, at https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/wiise-chain-la-vera-blockchain-made-in-italy-a-costi-competitivi

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.