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Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski underlines importance of small-scale farmers at ECVC office inauguration

31 March 2022

On 31 March, during the inauguration of the office of European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski underlined “the role small-scale farmers must play in ensuring food security in Europe.”

On 31 March, during the inauguration of the office of European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski underlined “the role small-scale farmers must play in ensuring food security in Europe.” For ECVC, an umbrella organisation of small- and medium-scale  farmers and agricultural workers with 31 member organisations from 21 European countries, the inauguration of the new offices in Brussels marked an important historic moment in the strengthening of the European small-scale farmers' movement and an opportunity to share its positions on the objectives, tools and implementation of food sovereignty, the F2F Strategy and other key agricultural topics, particularly in terms of the war in Ukraine and the implications this will have for European food security and sovereignty.   During the meeting with the Commissioner and the ceremonial moment afterwards, ECVC underlined its solidarity with Ukrainian people who are suffering the most dramatic consequences of this war. In particular, ECVC highlighted the role of those who live and work in rural areas, who are often invisible. Ukrainian small-scale family farmers are resisting the war by producing food for their fellow countrymen. ECVC are committed to supporting peasant and family farming in Ukraine, and in particular to prepare for the future, enabling the reconstruction of peasant and family farming in this battered country as soon as possible.   On a global level, the neoliberal system, financial speculation and lack of food sovereignty means food systems are increasingly dependent on imports and exports. In this context, the war in Ukraine is highlighting the fragility of our food systems and further destabilising the agricultural and food system worldwide. In Europe, food prices are rising rapidly and some countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia are already starting to experience food crises because of very high grain prices on international markets.   In the face of this, ECVC reaffirmed that the role of farmers is to produce healthy and accessible food for people, and during this moment of international crisis, institutions must focus on implementing mechanisms and tools to ensure this within agricultural policy.  During her speech at the ceremonial event, Morgan Ody underlined this further.   “Europe has too often abandoned small farmers. Of the 10 million farmers in the European Union, the vast majority are not agri-managers with thousands of hectares, but small- or medium-scale farmers practising diversified and territorialised agriculture. More than 70% of farmers in the EU work on less than 10 hectares, with no access to CAP subsidies because they are too small. Our income instead depends on the agricultural prices at which we sell our production. That is why we constantly ask not for more public money, but for regulation and protection of agricultural markets to obtain prices that cover production costs and ensure a dignified remuneration for farmers and agricultural workers.”   In the meeting with ECVC, the Commissioner himself also underlined the role of small-scale farming to ensure food security in Europe. “There is a myth in Europe and in public opinion that for productivity we need large-scale industrial farms. It’s absolutely not true, statistics show that big farmers are not the leaders of productivity, but rather that small and medium-scale farms use a small percent of agricultural land to produce the majority of agricultural production.”  

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