Go to

Home / News and events / Press Releases / Nature Restoration Law: more farmers with fairer incomes are key to biodiversity

Nature Restoration Law: more farmers with fairer incomes are key to biodiversity

21 June 2023

ECVC supports the objectives of the Green Deal, but today’s fiercely maintained status quo is, driving the industrialisation of agriculture and destroying jobs in this sector, worsening the current crises. European decision-makers must be ambitious to ensure real change in the EU at last. European agriculture must undergo a fair, holistic and agroecological transition, moving towards greater social and environmental sustainability. In particular it must allow large numbers of new farmers to integrate into the profession across the continent and promote collective territorial approaches. We cannot submit to industry pressures to enforce false solutions such as new GMOs, pesticides and digitalisation that will only serve to exacerbate current issues. The Nature Restoration Law must focus on changing the status quo and ensuring social justice to enable a just transition.

The law addresses important key elements such as the need for more jobs related to farming in rural areas in order to preserve biodiversity. However, the proposal contains no proper means to achieve this goal.

As a European farmers’ movement, we stress that if the content of the law remains limited and imprecise, it will not only hinder the preservation of natural environments, but also further endanger the very existence of peasant farmers, particularly those who practice agroecology.

- The law is vague about how it will support the farming sector, both financially and with coherent policy to ensure fair income for farmers, especially for small- and medium-sized farms that are best placed to lead the necessary transition. The terms of the current CAP and European trade policies are increasingly geared towards free trade, meaning conditions are not ripe for an agroecological transition and farmers are not sufficiently supported to adapt. In such context, it is not enough to simply request “high-diversity landscape features on agricultural land”. Different actors in the sector and chain must share responsibility fairly for achieving the objectives, and farmers must be able to participate effectively in the process to define how this is done. It is also not an option to further increase the administrative burden on farms, as this puts unreasonable pressure on peasant farms without affecting large agro-industrial companies.

- While this proposal looks to support wildlife (notably pollinators and farmland birds) and ecosystems (notably peatlands), it includes no measures to protect peasant farming and does nothing to stop the industrialisation of agriculture: you cannot tackle a symptom without addressing the root causes. The law includes no proposals on how to tackle factory farms, nor deal with costly and polluting new technologies that increase dependence on fossil fuels and rare materials. It does not address issues with “precision agriculture” such as GMOs, including new GMOs that manipulate living organisms in an attempt to appropriate them and impose patents. These GMOs pose a serious risk to the environment and health of citizens, and this model is in direct competition with small-scale farming. It prevents young people from setting up farms, impacting the quality of our food and the conservation of natural environments in Europe and beyond.

- Finally, while restoring damaged ecosystems is important, the EU must refrain from setting aside areas of land and sea for conservation using a percentage-based approach (30% by 2030). It is a false solution that lacks holistic understanding and could too easily facilitate the financialisation of living organisms. This outdated vision, which seeks to enclose so-called “wild” nature, has been proven to be ineffective by 50 years of scientific research. It fails to recognise the richness of interactions between the environment and human and agricultural activity on farms that use an agroecological approach, as well as on properly managed pastures, on common property territories and on indigenous territories, among others.

As research shows , agroecology can feed Europe just as it feeds the planet. The European agricultural model can evolve while conserving the environment. We now need to carve out a path towards this viable transition, as detailed in our Manifesto for an agricultural transition that responds to systemic climate crises.

Press release - EN

Comunicado de prensa - ES

Communiqué de presse - FR

Comunicado - PT

Contact information