Pesticide reduction, Farm to Fork Leak and digital farming concerns

Your weekly update on all things Agriculture & Food in the EU.

Welcome to EURACTIV’s AgriFood Brief, your weekly update on all things Agriculture & Food in the EU. You can subscribe here if you haven’t done so yet.

The latest draft of the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy (F2F), obtained by EURACTIV, specifies that mandatory targets for the reduction of use and risk of synthetic chemical pesticides will be established using the existing Harmonised Risk Indicator 1 (HRI1), whose suitability was contested in the past. Natasha Foote has the story.

8 - Pesticide reduction, F2F Leak and digital farming

Agrifood news this week

Ensuring data sovereignty ‘major challenge’ for European farmers
The virtues of digital farming have been extolled by many, including the European Commission and industry voices. But, as a recent situation in the US demonstrates, digital farming carries concerns which requires careful consideration. Read more here.

LEAK: EU’s Farm to Fork strategy will be based on five key targets
In addition to longstanding objectives like the reduction of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, the European Commission envisages setting three more targets in its new flagship food policy, EURACTIV can reveal. Read more here.


Nitrate pollution linked to agriculture, says new study
While Germany is set on tightening its fertiliser regulation after the EU Commission sued the country for excessive nitrate levels in groundwater, a new study has linked agriculture and particularly animal fattening with groundwater pollution. Could the European Commission drop its lawsuit against Germany? EURACTIV Germany reports.


Italy seeks extension of CAP deadlines due to coronavirus
Italy’s agriculture minister Teresa Bellanova has asked the European Commission for a postponement of some of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)’s administrative procedures to relieve Italian farmers stricken by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. See here for more details.


AMR: Foodborne superbugs harder to beat, say EU agency
Foodborne bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. Coli are getting harder to treat as they’re becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics used to beat them, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) say in a report published on Tuesday (3 March). Read more here.

Quote of the Week

“”If there is a need to increase the ambition of the Green Deal, there should be the same budget for farmers as they had in the past seven years”

Norbert Lins, chair of the AGRI committee of the European Parliament, in an interview with EURACTIV’s partner EFE Agro

Agrifood news from around Europe

The new European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, defended a strong Common Agricultural Policy at the Paris Agricultural Show last week. Read more here. (EURACTIV.FR)

Generational renewal, young farmers and digitalisation were the key topics of the fifth National agricultural conference, Slavonika, held in Osijek on Tuesday (3. March). Read more here. (Karla Juničić |

A proposed legislation act to curb spreading of the African swine fever and set minimal rules for raising pigs in households has caused a ruckus among the farming community in Romania. Read more here. (Bogdan Neagu |

A new support program for farmers, during the election campaign to the European Parliament promised by Jaroslaw Kaczyński, president of PiS, will enter into force on March 15. See here for more information. (Mateusz Kucharczyk|

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has urged the government to ensure tariff-free trade in agricultural goods with the EU, as the UK releases its mandate for the upcoming trade negotiations with the bloc. NFU director of EU exit and international trade Nick von Westenholz said that it is “crucial” that the UK has “tariff-free trade with as little friction as possible” and welcomed the government’s commitment to securing tariff and quota-free trade in agricultural goods with the EU. (Natasha Foote |

In a letter sent to the European Commission, Italy has asked for a mandatory indication of the origin of the raw materials on front-of-pack labelling. As in the past decisions on labelling have only been taken as a result of serious food scandals, the executive calls for taking courageous action in the direction demanded by citizens throughout Europe, Economic Development Minister Patuanelli and Agriculture Minister Bellanova argued in the letter. (Gerardo Fortuna |

The German government intends to reach an agreement on the Insect Protection Law by the end of the year, Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner and Environmental Minister Svenja Schulze announced yesterday (3 March). The push for insect protection comes after recent studies indicate that the population has declined by a third in the past decade. The legislation will include glyphosate reduction strategy for agriculture, which would limit its use by up to 75% before a ban from 2023. (Sarah Lawton |

On our radar this week

EU Agricultural Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski will receive representatives European Federation of Origin Wines (EFOW), the European Association of Tobacco Growers (UNITAB) and from the Polish Beekeeping Association this week.


Upcoming events 

  • Due to the precautions taken against novel coronavirus, events in the European Parliament have been cancelled this week.
  • 9 – 10 MarchWomen in Agribusiness, a European summit in Paris presenting the latest trends, outlooks, and innovations in agriculture and offering networking opportunities. See here for more information.

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