Who’s afraid of Farm to Fork? – EURACTIV.com

Has the current debate over meals safety one way or the other compromised the sustainable ambitions of the Green Deal meals chapter, the Farm to Fork (F2F) technique?

That’s the query that – very timidly – many in EU the bubble have began to marvel, with some dreading the reply.

To instantly clear the sector of any ambiguity, a u-turn on what’s spelt out within the technique is extraordinarily unlikely.

Before being part of the political mandate of this EU administration, the Farm to Fork is merely the popularity that Europe’s meals system, because it stands, options some evident loopholes which should be mounted.

It is extra the strategy picked by the Commission to fulfil this ambition that’s dealing with, if not a halt, then a type of lack of momentum.

The first signal that one thing within the F2F asset has began to squeak got here from the current assertion by Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans on meals safety – after virtually two months of silence on the subject.

Last week he advised MEPs within the European Parliament’s atmosphere committee (ENVI) that spreading fears of meals shortages is “irresponsible and dishonest“, referring to those who are using the war as a “pretext to derail the EU’s green farming ambitions.”

“Let’s not add to [EU citizens’] anxieties with false problems just to try and safeguard your economic position in certain sectors. And I can’t plead enough for this, and please, let’s work together on this,” he stated.

The message to lawmakers was clear: assist me in my combat in opposition to the makes an attempt to bloc the Farm to Fork.

ENVI chair Pascal Canfin not too long ago complained concerning the ambiguous place on the Green Deal dossiers of the biggest group within the European Parliament, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), a lot that EURACTIV’s vitality editor Fred Simon has began questioning on this week’s transient if the group nonetheless assist von der Leyen’s Green Deal.

The different trace that one thing is occurring was this week’s vote within the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the non-binding initiative put collectively in response to the Commission’s natural motion plan, which is a part of the Farm to Fork.

But whereas MEPs massively supported the bloc’s ambition on natural, they voted for a textual content that made no point out of the bold goal to see 25% of agricultural land farmed organically by 2030, as specified by the Farm to Fork.

A brand new component in play is the sturdy comeback of agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski as a reference level for the farming world.

It isn’t any secret the EU farming boss bought off on the improper foot, with key stakeholders even admitting publicly they felt unrepresented by him.

Some readers would most likely keep in mind that he was not even current when the F2F was unveiled by the Commission, though his personal service, the Directorate-General for Agriculture (DG AGRI), had performed a significant function in drafting the technique.

But that’s up to now: the implications of the battle in Ukraine and the push on meals safety have reconciled him with the farming neighborhood.

For occasion, Wojciechowski’s curt reply to the well-documented and lengthy Twitter thread on meals safety from Timmermans was hailed by the president of the EU’s farmers affiliation Copa, Christiane Lambert.

He stays ‘friends’ with small farmers too, as proven by his presence on the inauguration of the Brussels workplace of the European peasant organisation Via Campesina.

It’s not solely about connections: Wojciechowski not too long ago had a significant function in advocating for farmers’ pursuits having pushed the College of Commissions (mainly, the EU’s cupboard) to extend the threshold for the variety of livestock models that might be subjected to the commercial emissions directive.

While the EU appears to provide a contradictory message on meals safety with the stances of Wojciechowski and Timmermans, it is usually vital to note that agricultural manufacturing, on this part, stays a robust geopolitical device. And, as such, has an electoral weight.

Although it appears very removed from now, there might be European elections in two years and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has to play strategically in an effort to be re-proposed on the helm of the EU govt since her get together is now not a ruling one within the nation.

Just to make a sensible instance of how meals, supposed as a commodity, might be used for geopolitical functions: Wojciechowski will meet with Turkish Agricultural Minister, Vahit Kirişçi, to debate the right way to strengthen agri-trade relations between the EU and Turkey.

They will attempt to tackle Turkey’s heavy reliance on Russia with wheat imports amounting to $1.66 billion. And von der Leyen’s nation, Germany, is the EU’s largest wheat exporter, and the fourth-largest wheat exporter for Turkey after Russia, Ukraine and Canada.

Reliance on agricultural productiveness additionally goals at successful a geopolitical race, not solely at addressing meals shortages. Any debate on meals safety needs to be very clear on this facet.

Perhaps, these components can enlighten us as to why the push on manufacturing is briefly deflecting the street laid down by the Farm to Fork.

By Gerardo Fortuna



After a brief break, EURACTIV’s agrifood workforce are again and this week discussing all issues meals safety, together with the deepening cracks within the Commission over its response to the Ukraine battle and the lacking Green Deal goal in MEPs report on natural farming. We additionally converse with crop scientist and analyst Sarah Taber, who explains why the panic over meals safety in gentle of the battle is the true threat to international meals methods and the way nations can compensate for the misplaced agri-trade with Russia and Ukraine.

Agrifood tales of the week

MEPs massively again natural farming however snub Farm to Fork goal
The European Parliament has green-lighted a brand new report on the EU’s natural motion plan, which stresses a market-based method however makes no point out of the bloc’s bold goal to see 25% of agricultural land farmed organically by 2030. Natasha Foote studies.

Macron’s massive plans for French agriculture
From tackling the decline of younger farmers to the announcement of a ‘third agricultural revolution’: what has the newly re-elected French president, Emmanuel Macron, promised for the nation’s agricultural sector? EURACTIV France studies.

German authorities mulls limiting biofuel manufacturing
Germany’s atmosphere and agriculture ministries are reportedly engaged on restrictions for biofuel manufacturing so extra grain can be utilized as human meals as agriculture markets stay strained because of the battle in Ukraine. EURACTIV Germany studies.

German agri minister desires to assist export-blocked Ukrainian grain
Ukraine wants logistical assist for the export of essential agricultural merchandise presently impacted by Russia’s aggression, German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, who desires to mobilise fellow G7 nations to assist Ukraine, has stated. EURACTIV Germany studies.

In case you missed it

Agrifood Brief Special CAPitals Edition: Next (farming) Generation EU
Don’t miss this  Special CAPitals Edition of the Agrifood Brief by which the EURACTIV community takes a deep dive into the present scenario throughout EU member states in the case of generational renewal within the farming sector.

How has the Ukraine battle impacted the EU’s meals safety?
How has the Ukraine battle impacted the EU’s meals safety? Find out extra in EURACTIV’s video explainer and for an in depth take a look at how the battle has impacted EU member states’ nationwide strategic plans, take a look at our Special Report.


Trade with Turkey: EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski will meet with Turkish Agricultural Minister, Vahit Kirişçi, subsequent week. The assembly will deal with meals safety in gentle of the battle in Ukraine, as Turkey is closely depending on Russia’s wheat, and agri-trade relations between the EU and Turkey within the agrifood sector. According to sources, throughout this week’s Special Committee on Agriculture assembly, some member states took the ground to emphasize the significance of those dialogues being conditional on Turkey’s behaviour, and the necessity for the Commission to maintain a troublesome stance to safeguard EU and member states’ pursuits.

Knowledge change: The European Commission revealed an evaluation detailing the enhancements witnessed within the CAP’s affect on information change and advisory actions. In uncooked phrases, the variety of farmers receiving recommendation and getting access to coaching within the EU elevated within the interval 2014-2020 in comparison with 2007-2013. Learn extra.

Food insecurity rising at alarming price: The variety of folks dealing with acute meals insecurity and requiring pressing life-saving meals help and livelihood assist continues to develop at an alarming price, in accordance with an annual report revealed this week by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC), a world alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, governmental and non-governmental businesses working to sort out meals crises collectively.

No want to purchase sunflower oil prematurely: While the market scenario for sunflower oil at the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine was relatively tense, triggered by panic shopping for throughout the entire chain as much as the ultimate shopper, the scenario has during the last weeks improved, in accordance with an announcement from FEDIOL, the EU vegetable oil and protein meal business affiliation. This is because of further flows of sunflower seeds which might be being additional processed within the EU, and of sunflower oil popping out of Ukraine largely by rail and by truck.

Have your say on college canteens: The European Commission has launched a public session on the EU college scheme which helps since 2017 the distribution of fruit, greens, milk and milk merchandise to schoolchildren, from nursery college as much as secondary college. The Commission has launched a evaluate of the EU college scheme as a part of the Farm to Fork Strategy with the aim of making a beneficial meals atmosphere that makes it simpler to decide on a wholesome and sustainable weight loss plan. The session is open to stakeholders but additionally college kids and their dad and mom and might be closed on 28 July.

More alternatives to export items from Ukraine: To assist Ukraine with exports, the Romanian Ministry of Transport plans to carry a young by May 19 for the restore of a wide-gauge railway between the village of Giurgiusti (Moldova) and the port of Galati to launch a provide route from Ukraine through Moldova to Galati – Ukrainian Grain Trade informs. Thus, the ports of Galati and Constanta will grow to be the primary ports within the area for the transportation of products and uncooked supplies.

Deregulation of GMOs: An alliance of organisations signed a petition in opposition to the deregulation of recent GMOs this week as a part of a European marketing campaign led by a coalition of greater than 45 farmer, environmental and citizen organisations from greater than 15 EU nations, calling for all genetically modified crops, together with gene-edited crops, to stay strictly regulated and labelled within the EU.

Carbon certification controversy: Small farmers affiliation European Coordination refused to fill the Commission’s session on certification of carbon removals this week on the grounds it’s “disingenuous”. Backed by a number of different NGOs, the affiliation despatched a letter this week by which it argued that the session is “heavily biased towards a carbon offset and crediting approach” and ignores a lot of their issues.

Agri-trade: The complete worth of EU agri-food commerce reached a worth of €28.3 billion in January 2022, a 25% improve in comparison with the identical interval final yr and a 16% improve on the three-year common, in accordance with a brand new report.

Fertiliser corporations money in: The fertiliser sector stands in line for its greatest earnings in years on the again of the Russia-Ukraine battle, in accordance with reporting from Reuters this week.  

Meet and greet: EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski held plenty of excessive profile conferences this week with ministers, corresponding to with Austrian agriculture minister Elisabeth Köstinger, in addition to with varied stakeholders, together with ​​CropLife Europe, who represents Europe’s crop safety business, to change views on the right way to sort out the challenges we’re presently dealing with arising from the Ukraine battle and guarantee meals safety.

Agrifood information from the CAPitals


Commission: Czechia ought to cut back dependence on gas-based fertilisers. The European Commission known as on the Czech Republic to cut back its dependence on artificial fertilisers, that are primarily produced from Russian pure gasoline. Read extra. (Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)


Dutch farmers warn meals shortages loom amid drought. As Russia’s battle on Ukraine is already placing a pressure on agricultural markets, Dutch farmers now worry that the shortage of rain this spring may result in crop failure and meals shortages. Read the complete story right here.


Denormandie pushes again on Commission’s criticism. After the European Commission had despatched its analysis letter on France’s nationwide strategic plan for the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)to Paris, by which raised plenty of criticisms, French agriculture minister Julien Denormandie has now responded with a letter of his personal. Find out extra.


First case of swine fever close to Rome. A wild boar affected with African swine fever was discovered lifeless within the Insugherata nature reserve, within the municipality of Rome on 5 May. This is the primary case in Italy recorded exterior the areas of Liguria and Piedmont and as such, it has put in alarm the Italian livestock sector. Health Undersecretary Andrea Costa has been tasked with monitoring actions to include the unfold of the virus and stop its unfold in farm pigs.


UK lifts tariffs on Ukraine items. Following a plea from Kyiv, the UK authorities has determined to chop tariffs on all items from the nation to zero in addition to take away quotas – particularly on agricultural commodities – beneath the nations’ free commerce settlement. According to a authorities assertion, the choice was made in an effort to “provide Ukraine economic support in their hour of need.” The EU had not too long ago taken an identical step and scrapped import tariffs and quotas for Ukraine items for one yr.


Germany and India agree on agroecology cooperation. Germany and India need to collectively promote the “agro-ecological transition,” in accordance with an settlement struck by the 2 nations on the sixth version of the German-Indian authorities consultations on Monday (2 May). According to the declaration, a “lighthouse cooperation” on this discipline is about to assist Indian small farmers on points corresponding to meals safety, resilience to local weather change, reforestation, water administration and soil enchancment. Berlin intends to mobilize as much as € 300 million in preferential loans for the venture by 2025. German improvement minister Svenja Schulze welcomed the settlement. “India suffers significantly under the climate crisis, as the current heatwave shows,” she careworn. (Julia Dahm I EURACTIV.de)


Mandatory origin labelling and new animal welfare guidelines. Austria’s parliament has adopted a regulation introducing a compulsory origin label. According to the laws, the packaging of animal merchandise should include details about whether or not the product comes from Austria, the remainder of the EU, or a non-EU nation. The regulation additionally foresees stricter animal welfare guidelines, together with a ban on routine male chick culling and the tethering of cattle all yr spherical, in addition to tighter requirements on animal transport. While agriculture minister Elisabeth Köstinger welcomed the regulation’s adoption, Green MEP Thomas Waitz stated the minister had caved into business lobbying by leaving the foundations on animal transport too lax. (Julia Dahm I EURACTIV.de)


Luxembourg launches meals high quality label. Luxembourg’s parliament has adopted a regulation setting out a brand new labelling system for agricultural merchandise, which is about to mark high-quality, regionally sourced merchandise as “government approved”. According to a authorities assertion, the voluntary label is awarded based mostly on a list of standards in three overarching classes: high quality and style, regionality and solidarity, and atmosphere and animal welfare. Before the regulation enters into pressure, the European Commission first has to provide its settlement, because the laws falls beneath the scope of the EU directive on technical rules. (Julia Dahm I EURACTIV.de)


Spanish farms grow to be fewer however larger. Spain has misplaced farms, however those who stay are bigger on common, in accordance with the brand new Agriculture Census that was introduced on Wednesday on the National Statistics Institute (INE). Based on information from 2020, the census updates the knowledge from the earlier one, revealed in 2009. EURACTIV’s associate EFE Agro has extra.


New motion plan for pesticide packaging in keeping with EU goals. A brand new motion plan price €260,000 for an “integrated management of pesticide packaging” was not too long ago introduced by the agriculture ministry, following cooperation with different related our bodies. The final goal is to boost consciousness amongst farmers and different actors concerned within the pesticide use course of. This plan is supposed to deliver Greece’s coverage on the matter in keeping with related nationwide and EU goals on the transition to an environmentally pleasant financial system and the creation of comparative benefit. (Georgia Evangelia Karagianni| EURACTIV.gr)


10 May | European Parliament’s AGRI Committee assembly

10 – 13 May | FAO Regional Conference for Europe 

11 May | Farm demo convention

11 May | Social innovation in shrinking villages

12 – 14 May | International congress of mountain and steep slopes viticulture

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

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