Data inizio
10 Feb 2022

As part of efforts to consolidate and streamline the way the EU collects data in the agricultural sector, the European Commission is reviewing the regulation on agricultural inputs and outputs (SAIO - Statistical Agricultural Inputs and Outputs). The first trilogue between MEPs and national governments on the regulation, which will cover statistics on agricultural production, agricultural prices, nutrients, and plant protection products, kicked off on 3 February.

Underscoring the importance of the regulation, MEP and rapporteur for the file, Petros Kokkalis, told EURACTIV that successful data collection underpins the EU’s green ambitions, including the Green Deal and the EU’s organic action plan. “We need better statistical support for evidence-based policy going forward,” he stressed, adding that data is a vital part of a transition that must be “very fast, very efficient, and very radical”.

The review is widely welcomed by stakeholders, who have long reserved criticism about the way that the EU collects and reviews agricultural data.

One of the stickiest points raised by stakeholders ahead of the trilogue is organic agriculture. Organic agriculture is a key priority of the European Commission, which wants to see 25% of agricultural land in the EU being farmed organically by 2030.

However, while the inclusion of organic is in the Parliament’s mandate, the EU Council’s original position introduced provisions that would limit the collection of data on organic farming.

For EU organics association IFOAM, this restriction would be a “missed opportunity”. “We cannot rely on agricultural statistics that do not take organic agriculture into account,” Jan Plagge, IFOAM Organics Europe President, said in a statement, while director Eduardo Cuoco pointed out this would be a great way to plug the data gap on organic that researchers have been highlighting for years.

Asked by EURACTIV about plans to include the collection of data in the organic sector in the review of the regulation, Kokkalis said negotiators want to see “clarity and visibility of organic on data on organic production, and also output the prices which reflects market condition”. He added there was a “broad agreement on all parts of the Council and the Commission that that’s what we’re aiming for.”