29 March 2022

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a common policy for all EU countries. It is managed and funded at European level from the resources of the EU’s budget. Meant to support farmers and improve agricultural productivity, ensuring a stable supply of affordable food in the European Union. Although Belgium is yet to propose its CAP plans (one for Wallonia and one for Flanders), it is developing different measures in 2022 to safeguard rural community development and sustainable agricultural growth towards a more organic positive society

Belgian agricultural development in practice 

To support the transition towards a sustainable agriculture and keep in line with the European Green Deal goals, Belgium is going through a transition: both regions show ambitions to allocate more towards measures to support climate, biodiversity, environment and animal welfare.  

National strategic plans (NSP) are one of the main novelties of the reformed CAP, the EU’s massive farming subsidies programme, which will run from 2023 to 2027. Through these plans, EU countries detail how they will meet the needs of farmers and rural communities. When it comes to organic agriculture, Flanders and Wallonia each have seperate plans containings goals, projects and grants.  

The region’s different characters: organic overview 

In 2020, the success of organic farming is once again undeniable. All indicators confirm that the growth of the sector continues. 

Between 2019 and 2020, the number of organic farms increased yet again. Organic farming now accounts for 7.2% of the utilised agricultural area. 

  • Wallonia’s biological plan, Plan Bio 3030, is ambitious and aims for 30% organic farmland by 2030. Considering the European Green Deal’s goal only strives for 25%. 
  • That being said, Flanders’ Plan Bio 2018-2022 is ongoing and will soon be up for a review.  

Wallonia and Flanders: the lay of the land 

Walloon agriculture is characterised by its local character, certainly in contrast to Flemish agriculture, which is more export-oriented. 

Walloon agriculture is also strongly characterised by a well-developed organic farming sector. Due to the low level of urbanisation, there is more space available for organic farming in Wallonia than in Flanders.  

In total, Wallonia accounts for 91% of the Belgian organic organic agriculture. Thus, the Belgian organic farming sector has become almost exclusively Walloon. 

That being said, both regions have open projects calling to invest. FI Group consultants, with the needed expertise and knowledge, offer guidance when it comes figuring out the right grants for your project. 

Flanders: New call for organic farming project proposals 

The Flemish Department of Agriculture and Fisheries launches a new call for project proposals for research on organic farming. The selected research projects will be financed with a budget of maximum 150,000 euros. The project proposals can be submitted until 31 May. 

Project proposals must address one of the following themes:  

  1. Robust organic production systems-primary production: a systems approach; 
  1. Solutions to extreme weather conditions in organic cropping systems by working on soil quality; 
  1. Controlling fungal diseases using agro-ecological practices from a systems approach; 
  1. Measures for less ammonia emissions in organic livestock farming from a systems approach. 

Projects can start at the earliest on 1 January 2023 and at the latest on 31 December 2023. The project duration is maximum three years. 

Wallonia: ongoing call on agriculture, biodiversity and climate 

AWAF focusees on the restoration of the bocage, development of biodiversity in tall orchards and agroforestry in Wallonia. 

  1. Reduce the risks linked to climate change” through the development of agro-forestry techniques in all their forms and the multiplication of carbon sinks within the agricultural space 
  1.  Reduce the erosion of wild and fruit biodiversity through the creation of more diversified agro-ecosystems and the improvement of the ecological network 
  1. Preserve cultivated and wild genetic resources and particularly the fruit heritage of Wallonia in anticipation of climate change and economic transitions. 

 This project call is ongoing from July 2021 until July 2024. 

Taking into account the current climate 

Because Europe is self-sufficient in many agricultural products, its food supply is not currently at risk – unlike in other parts of the world. But because the agricultural sector is a net importer of many products, it is vulnerable to the effects of war. 

In order to reduce the risks of war in Ukraine for the European agricultural sector, the European Commission is releasing an aid package of 500 million euro. On top of the current regional plans, 6.27 million euro of this is going towards Belgian farmers. 

FI Group has 20 years of experience and wants to support you in understanding and intercepting the available R&D+I opportunities. Our experts are at your disposal to analyse your project and to take the next steps together with you. 

Yvette Poumpalova 

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