The European Commission has said it will hold a 'European Hearing on Organic Food and Farming Towards a European Action Plan' in Brussels on 22 January 2004.

The main purpose of this hearing is to gauge the views of the widest possible range of stakeholders, including experts in the agricultural, environmental and consumer field and to gather experiences from pilot initiatives, the Commission said.

Following this public hearing, the Commission said it will prepare an Action Plan in the form of a Communication to the European Council and Parliament, including a list of possible actions to boost organic farming.

"There are important questions we need to address. How, for example, can we boost trade and consumption of organic products in the EU? How can we facilitate production and processing? How can we ensure traceability and organic authenticity and, linked to this, how can we support the co-existence of organic farming with either conventional methods or genetically modified agriculture? I hope that this hearing will provide us with valuable input to answer these questions," said Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries.

Further details can be found here