European Union (EU) Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler has called on non-member southern Mediterranean countries to develop high quality organic food production to meet growing EU demand.

The commissioner told a EUROMED regional conference, in Venice, that the exchange of knowledge and (food industry) know-how and organic farming were “two concrete fields” for cooperation between the EU and the Mediterranean countries.

He proposed a regional knowledge-exchange forum and strengthening “our ties regarding organic production”. And he called on southern Mediterranean countries create organic production schemes that are approved by the EU, a challenge so far only met by Israel. “Other countries…(should) upgrade their standards,” Dr Fischler said.