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[English] European Farm-To-Fork Strategy: need for viable solutions and policy coherence

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Today, the European Commission launched its farm-to-fork strategy and the European Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

The farm-to-fork and biodiversity strategy, launched by the European Commission today, can only deliver if all relevant parties are involved and if specific, viable solutions are offered. The current unilateral introduction of reduction targets without a prior impact analysis and without supporting policy, however, is an obstacle to sustainable food production and jeopardizes European food security and the viability of farms.

Today, the European Commission launched its farm-to-fork strategy and the European Biodiversity Strategy 2030. Both are part of the European Green Deal. The from farm-to-fork strategy aims at setting the framework for a more sustainable European food production. The biodiversity strategy targets to reverse the loss of European biodiversity. Both strategies must ultimately be translated into European legislation.

Solutions and impact analysis

The farm-to-fork strategy has the potential to support the agricultural sector and provide solutions to address its current and future challenges. But both strategies should not be limited to a mere set of hard objectives without involving the different actors concerned. For example, the biodiversity strategy foresees additional nature objectives and a drastic reduction in the use of plant protection products without prior thorough impact analysis.

Sufficient capacity at the side of the farmer and of his company is a precondition for the success of the strategies. Solutions must include amongst others a supporting policy, the search for alternatives (innovation) and the valorisation of entrepreneurship. Paying lip service to those elements not enough. The different aspects must be in balance, the speed of implementation coordinated. The starting point and the specific characteristics of the Member State are also important to take into account.

Coherent and complementary food policy

The agricultural and horticultural sector is a vital sector responsible for the primary production of food. The sector continuously develops towards more sustainable food production and will continue to do so. In order to proceed with this dynamic process, however, there is a need for a European policy coherence, relying on science-based insights and connecting with different policy areas. “An agricultural and food policy can only succeed if other policy areas aligned, such as environmental policy, trade policy, economic policy… . In addition, a food policy should not replace the current agricultural policy, but both policies should rather be complementary. Each has its role to play, ”says Boerenbond president Sonja De Becker.

Leave no one behind

According to Boerenbond, the strategy should increase the individual farmer's capacity by proportionately sharing costs and benefits from farm to fork. In addition, while the common agricultural policy must keep its focus on agriculture, additional budgets will be required to help implement the proposed strategies. Without taking into account the capacity of the agricultural and horticultural sector and without considering food security as an important strategic good, it is pointless to keep raising the bar.