What are the realities of the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies?

According to Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission: “At the heart of the Green Deal the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies point to a new and better balance of nature, food systems and biodiversity; to protect our people’s health and well-being, and at the same time to increase the EU’s competitiveness and resilience. These strategies are a crucial part of the great transition we are embarking upon.”

When the strategies were launched in May 2020, many stakeholders welcomed strategic thinking on the future of agriculture and food systems for the EU. The objective, to further environmental protection and to fight climate change, whilst furthering the economic situation of farmers and assuring food security, is clear.

However, the two strategies prompted a number of questions about the overall coherence of what was proposed. For example, reductions on pesticides and fertilizers, and a forced decrease of agriculture land, were proposed, without providing an impact assessment.

Policymakers have been challenged to demonstrate that their proposals will not create an added burden for farmers nor result in a decrease of EU agricultural production. Critics claim that this would be at odds with the objective of increasing European food security and enhancing growth in the EU’s rural areas.

Furthermore, they claim that the combined two proposed strategies, if implemented as such, could result in a reduction of 15% EU agricultural production and a decline of EU food security.

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