Today, the European Commission announced the new Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategy, with the aim of building a fair, healthy and ecological food system and protecting nature. The two strategies are mutually reinforcing and bring together nature, farmers, businesses and consumers to work together towards a competitive and sustainable future. You can read more here.
Despite the recognition that the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of a robust and resilient food system that works in all circumstances, and that the demand for shorter supply chains has intensified during the current outbreak, the Commission is not on track to respond to these societal demands.
The Farm to Fork strategy does not recognise the high value of smallholder agriculture in repairing the unsustainable food system, and instead emphasises that digital technologies and new genomic techniques can improve sustainability along the food supply chain.
On the CAP, the strategy stresses that eco-schemes will be the option used to promote sustainable practices “such as precision agriculture, agroecology (including organic farming), carbon agriculture and agro-forestry”, mixing practices of very different natures.
It is positive to see that the Farm to Fork Strategy mentions respecting the European pillar of social rights, especially when it comes to precarious, seasonal and undeclared workers. However, mentioning the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants would have been a stronger international consideration of the sustainable food system that the Commission wants to promote at global level.
ECVC has long insisted that the Farm to Fork strategy is the opportunity to initiate real change in the food system and ensure food security for all people, through a system based on food sovereignty. However, from the very beginning, the strategy faces a problem of credibility and incoherence; if trade policy and Free Trade Agreements are not questioned and the incoherence between trade, agricultural and food, environmental and social policies is not corrected, this strategy will only be once again a cover-up and marketing of the real policies promoted by the European Commission. Here are ECVC’s demands regarding the strategies; the document will be updated as soon as possible with an analysis of the final document. You can also check the ECVC Twitter page for reactions.