The effects of COVID-19 on agriculture in the EU

A special edition of the Agrifood podcast. [SHUTTERSTOCK]

In this special edition of the agrifood podcast, EURACTIV’s agrifood team explores the impact of the recent coronavirus outbreak on EU agriculture and the bloc’s main farming subsidies programme, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

12 - Special Edition - The effects of COVID-19 on agriculture in the EU

Lawmakers and stakeholders interviewed by EURACTIV explained what this outbreak shows about the EU farming system, how farmers can best be supported in times of crisis, as well as what effect this crisis will have on the ongoing CAP post-2020 negotiations.

For Thomas Waitz, MEP and co-chair of European Greens, Europe should rethink the way it distributes subsidies across Europe. “Through the crisis, more and more citizens become aware of the importance of secure food production within Europe,” he said.

Likewise, Celia Nyssens agricultural policy officer at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said that the current crisis demonstrates the need to focus on building the resilience of our food systems, and added that this can be achieved by moving towards more integrated and holistic thinking in the CAP.

Pierre Bascou, director in charge of sustainability and income support in the Commission’s DG AGRI, explained to us how support measures within CAP could bring relief to farmers.

For Jannes Maes, a young dairy farmer in Belgium and chair of Conseil Européen des Jeunes Agriculteurs (CEJA), the European umbrella organisation representing the voice of young farmers to the institutions in Brussels, the CAP has a role to play in supporting farmers in times of crisis and in ensuring the generational renewal of the sector.

Lastly, Nikša Tkalec, SCA (Special Committee for Agriculture) spokesperson for Croatia, said many Croatian producers, especially the small ones, are highly dependent on the Horeca (hotels, restaurants and cafés) sector and, with the closures of hotels and restaurants, the country is struggling to develop the new distribution channels.

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