The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), the European umbrella organization representing stakeholders active in the production of insects for food and feed, welcomed publication of the European Commission ‘Action Plan for the Development of the Organic Sector’.
This communication is an important leap forward for European agriculture, supporting farmers and the agri-food sectors in achieving at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 and a significant increase in organic aquaculture, in line with the ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy.
“The European insect sector is committed to supporting the growth of EU organic agriculture and aquaculture which help to reduce the environmental impact of our food systems”, explained Antoine Hubert, IPIFF President.
“A large part of the European insect farmers are inspired by organic principles. Thus, the finalization of the organic certification standards for insect farming activities – a process that the European Commission is committed to work on – will support the efforts of insect producers towards sustainable agricultural practices across the European Union”, said Adriana Casillas, IPIFF Vice President. ‘Once in place, such tangible organic standards would allow insect food and feed producers to maximize their contribution to the objectives of this Action Plan’.
IPIFF welcomes the Commission’s aim to explore the use of feed based on insects as well as to increase the supply of locally sourced feed proteins, as mentioned in the Organic Action Plan. More specifically, the European insect sector could support the objectives of the Organic Action Plan on improving animal nutrition or reinforcing organic aquaculture. Insects are a natural source of nutrition for a wide range of species – such as fish, poultry and swine. They can help to tackle certain deficiencies in animal nutrition (e.g. vitamin B12 shortage).
“Authorizing the use of insects and their derived ingredients in organic animal nutrition may positively contribute to up scaling organic poultry and pig farming. The incorporation of such locally-produced feed materials in the diet of poultry and swine would support in-conversion and organic farmers to reach the objective for regionally produced feed”, declared Casillas.
In parallel, the association recognizes that achieving the 25% target for organic agricultural land depends on ensuring that soil health and fertility are preserved.
“The application of insect frass – a valuable organic fertilizing product with properties similar to compost or animal manure – on agricultural land closes the loop of insect farming and ensures that macro- and micronutrients return to soils, supporting plant growth and development”, explained Chloé Phan Van Phi, IPIFF Executive Committee Member in charge of Circular Economy practices. “EU organic standards for insect farming would contribute to unleashing the potential of insect frass as fertilizing product, helping crop farmers across the continent in reducing the productivity gap on organic agricultural land and improving competitiveness”.
The association considers that such measures – which aim at strengthening agricultural circularity – should be stimulated in the context of national Organic Action Plans.
“The initiatives presented in the Action Plan are very promising and will help Europe to build more sustainable food chains. We would welcome it, if the EU legislators will continue to shape the regulatory landscape in a way that the European insect sector can fully contribute to this objective: the European insect industry is not only keen on supporting the organic sector, but strives to become an essential part of it”, concluded Christophe Derrien, IPIFF Secretary-General.
 To that end, IPIFF supports the inclusion of insect-derived ingredients from non-organically produced animals in organic poultry and swine feed of up to 5 %. More information on this subject is presented in the IPIFF Regulatory Brochure (Chapter IV – Responding to the growing demand for EU organic products).
 This valuable by-product of insect farming contains beneficial bacteria that act as plant growth microorganisms, thereby improving plants’ health – implicitly reducing the need to apply additional agrochemicals.