Brussels, 20 May 2021
Without a comprehensive impact assessment, we will not be celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Farm to Fork strategy.
Today marks one year to the day since the Farm to Fork strategy was presented in Brussels by the European Commission. However, almost 30 organisations from the Agri-Food chain, including Euroseeds, affirm that they cannot celebrate its anniversary, as the strategy still raises too many questions in the European farming and agri-food community. A year of intense debate has only increased the number of our concerns.
The signatories of this declaration do not have a single doubt that the Farm to Fork strategy with its targets will have a considerable impact on the whole agricultural value chain, from farmers to our food systems and to consumers throughout the Union. But most probably not on the ones initially hop ed for or expected.
They are not opposed in essence to the approach proposed within the Farm to Fork strategy or the Green Deal. They are all conscious that our food system must integrate further measures to improve its sustainability as fast as possible while maintaining the highest quality standards and food affordability.
Nevertheless, not only will this strategy have an impact on the environmental quality of our agriculture, but it will also impact on our production capacity, our competitiveness, our imports and ultimately on consumer prices. As it has been demonstrated over the past year, there are also considerable paradoxes in the composition of those generalised objectives, and by the time these are widely understood, it will be too late.
A comprehensive impact assessment would have been the appropriate way to engage in a concrete discussion on the substance of the Farm to Fork strategy. Such a study was promised by Vice President Frans Timmermans. However, although this was promised on many occasions in line with the principles of “good governance” of the Commission, we now know that such as assessment will not be carried out.
Individual studies on the different objectives of the strategy are not sufficient. It is only by cumulating and cross checking the different targets proposed in the strategy that one can realise the real challenges posed by the strategy.
We are asking for the application of three common sense principles: to have a policy based on concrete data and scientific evidence that is in line with the better regulation principles, not on ideology and political stances; to start talking about concrete tools and technologies capable of creating enthusiasm in our farming community for this political project and finally to have the same level of ambition in the EU internal market vis à vis those international trade partners that don’t share the same ambitions.