European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), representing small and medium farmers committed to sustainable development and peasant agroecology, welcomed with satisfaction the European Commission (EC) Communication on the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy with its ambitious targets to reduce pesticides, fertilisers and antimicrobials in Europe and to increase organic farming to at least 25% of EU agricultural land by 2030.
We recall that peasant agriculture is the agricultural component of a wider social project, which we want to be democratic, egalitarian and respectful of the environment. It is built around the notion of food sovereignty, as defined by La Via Campesina. Thus, this project does not only concern agricultural policies, but also food policies, which can structure the demand for the products of peasant agriculture.
ECVC sees a shift in the overall vision, with a focus on food, which is also central to ECVC’s vision of food sovereignty and the right to food for all. We also recognise the great value of farmers as food providers in local food systems under democratic control.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased the importance of resilient food systems and has shown the risks and negative consequences of external dependency and lack of food sovereignty in Europe.
However, although the model of sustainable family farming is more highly valued in the principles of the F2F strategy, we fear that in the implementation of the F2F measures small and medium-sized farmers will be excluded. It is necessary that the objectives of the F2F Strategy are realised in the different EU policies concerned, in particular the CAP, in order to support a real transition towards sustainable food systems based on agro-ecology.
On the other hand, ECVC considers that a profound change in other EU policies such as its trade policy is essential because of the lack of coherence with the objectives of the F2F. Continuing to promote free trade agreements that destroy sustainable agriculture and food and impose industrial agriculture and food is contrary to the objectives of the F2F.