On 23 September 2021, the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission launched the annual EU Organic Day.
It is a part of the Action Plan for development of organic production in the EU, adopted by the European Commission on 25 March 2021, aiming to increase the consumption of organic products, expand organic production, improve the sustainability of agriculture and contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the EU Strategy “Farm to Fork” and the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
Today Ukraine is also celebrating the Organic Day together with the European Union, with the aim of European integration, implementation of the European Green Deal in Ukraine, raising awareness about the organic products and promoting the key role of organic agriculture in the transition to sustainable production and consumption in Ukraine.
Organic products are agricultural and food products produced according to the approved rules (standards) which provide for minimizing the use of pesticides, synthetic mineral fertilizers, growth regulators, artificial food additives, as well as prohibit the use of GMOs.
Ukraine has approved the national organic legislation, which was developed based on the EU organic regulation, and is in the process of its implementation and adaptation to the new EU organic regulation. From year to year, Ukraine has been increasing its organic production capacity, with the organic products being supplied not only domestically, but also exported to many countries.
Thus, according to the operational monitoring data of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, collected from the foreign certification bodies which certified organic production and circulation of organic products in Ukraine as of 31.12.2021, the total area of organic agricultural lands, including in-conversion lands, was 422 thousand ha (1% of the total area of agricultural lands in Ukraine), of which 370 thousand ha with organic status. The total number of organic operators was 528, including 418 agricultural producers.
According to the latest data of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL, Switzerland) and IFOAM (yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture”), Ukraine ranked 21st in the world and 13th in Europe by the organic agricultural land.
At the same time, in recent years Ukraine has been among TOP 5 organic suppliers to the EU. In particular, in 2021 it ranked the 5th among 126 countries by volume of organic products imported to the EU with the share of 6.6% of the total volume of organic products imported to the EU.
In the frame of the Organic Day, with support of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, a number of events were held aiming to develop and support the Ukrainian organic sector:
The online conference “Organic Day in Ukraine” was held, which was organised by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, State Institution “Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office” in partnership with the Organic Initiative, Organic Standard LLC, Organic Ukraine NGO, Information Center “Green Dossier”, Lviv City Public Organization “Ecoterra”, OrganicInfo.ua with support of Switzerland within the framework of the Swiss-Ukrainian Programs “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” (QFTP) and “Organic Trade for Development”(OT4D).
During the online conference, Taras Vysotskyi, First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine informed the participants about the status of the organic legislation of Ukraine and the operational monitoring data on the Ukrainian organic sector. He said that 23 September will officially become the Organic Day in Ukraine, same as in the European Union.
Miltiades Krimizis, Head of Sector International - Organics Unit, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission, told about the history of launching and celebrating the EU Organic Day, which unites the entire European organic sector.
Viktor Shutkevych, Assistant Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, highlighted that Switzerland had been supporting organic market development in Ukraine for 20 years and would continue doing so. Ukraine is not the EU member yet, but it has long been a member of the EU and global organic community.
Christian Hell, Agriculture Sector Manager, Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, stressed that the EU supports Ukraine in approximation of the Ukrainian organic legislation to the EU organic regulation and has a lot of technical assistance projects for Ukraine in other domains.
Andrii Remizov, Acting Director, State Institution “Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office”, invited Ukrainian organic exporters to register for participation at the joint stands of Ukraine at Nordic Organic Food Fair 2022 (Sweden, 16 – 17 November 2022), Middle East Organic & Natural Product Expo 2022 (Dubai, 13 - 15 December 2022) and Biofach 2023 (Germany, 14 – 17 February 2023).
Sergiy Galashevskyy, General Manager of Organic Standard LLC, told that for 8 months of 2022 Ukraine had exported more organic products than in the same period of 2021. He also presented the Organic Market Study in Ukraine, according to which the total export of Ukrainian organic products amounted to about USD 220 million in 2021.
Olena Manziuk, Deputy Head of the Certification, Standardisation and Quality Department, Organic Standard LLC, informed that, in spite of the full-scale war, Ukrainian organic producers had launched new organic products in 2022 – fruit rolls, different types of instant porridge and cream soups, nectarine juice and essential oils.
Organic producers thanked for the support provided after the beginning of the russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Organic Initiative and the Project “German-Ukrainian Cooperation in Organic Agriculture”.
Upon the initiative of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine and Ukrainian organic producers from Kyiv city, Odesa and Zhytomyr regions, the campaign “Organic Products for Children” took place in Kotsiubynske village (Kyiv region). Internally displaced persons, large families, children with disabilities and orphans were treated to organic snacks, dairy products, fruits and chocolate.
The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, State Institution “Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office”, Organic Initiative, together with the entire organic sector have started a good tradition to celebrate the Organic Day on 23 September and will hold the relevant events annually.