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France: “Heated greenhouse production not organic”

On the 3rd of April, the National Committee of Biological Agriculture (CNAB) was supposed to decide on the ban on heated greenhouses to produce organic fruits and vegetables off-season. Fnab and Synabio, reported on organic conversion projects in heated greenhouses in Brittany and Pays de la Loire and, in June 2018, they asked for a formal prohibition of this practice. However, the vote was postponed until July 2019.

Heated greenhouses: environmental nonsense incompatible with the organic label
The organic specifications impose a “respect for natural cycles” and a “responsible use of energy”. However, according to the FoodGES study of ADEME, a tomato produced in France in heated greenhouses is responsible for 4 times more greenhouse gas than a tomato imported from Spain, and 8 times more than a tomato, produced in France, in season.

“The longer the decision on the ban is postponed, the more new projects will see the light of day and the more difficult it will be to go back. We must act now,” explains Jean-Marc Lévêque, president of Synabio.

Let us not reproduce mistakes of the past
“Some economic players believe that they can take advantage of the high demand for organic fruits and vegetables without changing their model. However, heating greenhouses implies a specialization of the crops which depletes the soil and is incompatible with the agronomic approach defended by the organic model,” reported Fnab and Synabio in a press release. “We cannot copy a conventional productivist model on an organic logic which implies accepting lower yields and higher production constraints, including seasonality. If the new players do not respect this logic, they will destroy what took us 40 years to build,” explains Sylvie Corpart, organic farmer representing the Fnab at Cnab.

58% of the French people say they want to buy more and more seasonal products, a societal trend which the organic label still meets today.

Fnab and Synabio are asking for a ban on the new construction projects of heated greenhouses for organic production until a decision is made at the Cnab.

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