Supermarket margins on organic products are far too high, organic farmers have said, putting in doubt the Netherlands’ ability to achieve the European norm which says 25% of all farming has to be organic from 2030.
The margins on organic products should be reduced to those of conventionally produced fruit, veg and meat, organic farmers’ organisation Biohuis said, a stance that is also supported by markets watchdog ACM.
In a letter to agriculture minister Piet Adema, the ACM said measures could include a lower value added tax on organic produce, or subsidies.
The Netherlands brings up the rear in organic farming in Europe, with only 4.4% of all farms adopting sustainable growing methods.
Austria has already achieved the 25% norm, helped by supermarkets which promote organic products and offer them at affordable prices.
At the moment the margins are far too great, organic farmer and Biohuis spokesman Jaap Korteweg said. ‘A kilo of ordinary carrots, for instance, costs €1.19 at Albert Heijn but a kilo of organic carrots sells for €1.99. It costs an organic farmer 35 cents to grow them compared to 20 cents for a conventional farmer. That’s only a 15 cent difference.’ Korteweg told the AD.
To compensate for the initial loss, supermarkets could increase the margin on unhealthy and unsustainable products, he said.
In a reaction, Albert Heijn said it is already promoting organic products while supermarket Plus said its dairy products are 100% organic. Aldi told the paper it did not intend to change the margins on their organic products.
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