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Over 150 civil society groups call for reform of European agricultural policies

6 March 2017

Over 150 European civil society organisations representing environmental and social justice networks, organic farmers, pastoralists, peasants, sustainable forestry groups, health groups, animal welfare organisations, consumer rights bodies, development, fair-trade, cultural heritage and rural development organisations, consumer co-operatives, sustainable tourism and crafts associations from 25 EU countries have today called on EU leaders to carry out a radical reform of the CAP and related policies.


The call comes as agricultural ministers meet in Brussels [1] to discuss future reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and also in light of the public consultation [2] launched by the European Commission on the future of the policy.


In a common statement titled ‘Good Food, Good Farming – Now’ [3] the signatories state that the current food and farming system is no longer functioning, since it props up the agro-industrial status quo, and call for a fundamental reform of Europe’s broken agricultural policy. [4] Such a reform is urgently needed to enable a transition towards a food and farming system which supports fair and diverse food and farming economies, is underpinned by viable alternatives such as organic and agro-ecological farming, and which respects the environment and animal welfare, supports citizens’ health, and is publicly accountable.


The full statement can be found here.




  1. Agriculture and Fisheries Council, Agenda, 6 March 2017
  2. The European Commission’s Public Consultation on ‘Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)’ began on 2 February and is open until the 2 May 2017.
  3. Full statement: LINK
  4. Some problems with the food and farming system in the EU:




  • Farms are disappearing at an alarming rate: 1 out of every 4 EU farms have vanished between 2003 and 2013.


  • Globally, more than 90% of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields and 75% of the world’s food is generated from only 12 plants and 5 animal species (FAO (2004): Building on Gender, Agrobiodiversity and Local Knowledge ).


  • Europe’s land footprint totals 269 million hectares – with 40% of this used outside of Europe – an area almost the size of France and Italy combined (Fischer G., S. Tramberend, M. Bruckner and M. Lieber, forthcoming. Quantifying the land footprint of Germany and the EU using a hybrid accounting model. Dessau: German Federal Environment Agency).


  • 20% of the food produced in the EU (88 million tonnes) is wasted annually, while 43 million EU citizens (8.5%) are not able to afford a quality meal every second day.


  • High levels of antibiotic use in animal farming contributes to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which could evolve into a global crisis killing some 10 million people annually by 2050.


  • In 2014, almost 400,000 tonnes of pesticides (active ingredients) were sold in the EU, showing an increase compared to the three previous years, according to Eurostat.


  • Agriculture currently represents approximately 10% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Emissions from livestock, such as ammonia, significantly contribute to air pollution, which is responsible for over 400,000 deaths in the EU annually according to the European Environment Agency.