Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Farm to Fork strategy under threat

The EU's commitment to tackle climate change in the food chain has arguably never been as strong as it should been, in part because of pressure from the agri-food industries, but the Farm to Fork strategy at least outlined a way forward and set some targets.   Now it is under jeopardy as climate change is once again relegated in importance as food security comes to the fore given the historic role of Ukraine as a European 'bread basket'.

Farm to Fork targets included cutting fertiliser use by a fifth (it may reduce anyway because of soaring prices), halving the use of antibiotics and increasing the amount of land farmed organically from 9 per cent to 23 per cent.   Pesticide use has already decreased with many substances banned.

French president Emmanuel Macron has said that the sustainable food strategy was 'based on a pre-Ukraine war world' and should be revised, claiming it would lead to a 13 per cent drop in food production: https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/macron-wants-to-adapt-eu-farm-to-fork-to-the-post-ukraine-war-world/  

He would, wouldn't he?  He is facing a presidential election in which he needs the votes of farmers, but Italy and Spain have raised similar concerns.

The farm lobby in the form of Copa/Cogeca have seized the window of political opportunity and called for increased fertiliser imports, pesticide use and cultivation of crops for animal feed.  They have also called for opt outs from ecological schemes and climate-linked animal welfare standards.

The Food Policy Coalition insists that the war in Ukraine is a reminder of how important it is to implement the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies: https://foodpolicycoalition.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Joint-open-letter-EU-food-supply-and-solidarity-response-to-the-war-in-Ukraine.-March-2022.pdf

Farm ministers were meeting in Brussels on Monday March 21st.

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