The agricultural community in the EU faces several challenges: produce sufficiently for a growing population, produce sustainably to address environmental and climate change issues, ensure competitiveness in a sector that is exposed to international markets and generate a decent income. In this context, the Agriculture & Progress Platform’s mission is to provide society and decision-makers with answers and proposals on the needs and challenges of guaranteeing sustainable agricultural production and to highlight the important role of innovation in this context.
The report on the Farm to Fork Strategy voted by MEPs of the European Parliament AGRI and ENVI Committees is very ambitious in addressing environmental sustainability and in imposing more and more constraints. We note with concern that the results of report of the JRC and the significant impacts on EU agriculture of the Commission’s Farm to Fork proposal have not been taken into account by MEPs. But basing any upcoming decisions on sound evidence from an environmental, social but also economic point of view prior to creating binding targets or deadlines is not only one of the fundamental principles of good administration, it is also the only way to achieve a realistic, pragmatic and applicable way forward.
By adding even more burdens, MEPs are making the strategy and transition highly bureaucratic, disconnected from farming realities, divisive and still limited in addressing the challenge of innovation.
The Agriculture & Progress Platform regrets in particular that the support for new innovative techniques, such as New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), expressed by MEPs is mainly based on an extreme consideration of the precautionary principle. The uncertainty currently generated at EU level risks preventing NGTs from becoming mainstream and a permanent part of the agricultural toolbox. A clear and unambiguous signal of support from MEPs towards the Innovation Principle is needed – and not an excessive caution.
Farmers are working every day to meet the expectations and improve their working methods. They need a pragmatic political framework – based on realistic objectives and appropriate means – that is consistent with other policies and that safeguards a level playing field. What has been voted today is not a clear signal supporting this.
The Agriculture & Progress Platform will continue to engage with the European Parliament and EU Institutions to jointly work on achieving sustainable and realistic goals for farmers. Therefore, Agriculture & Progress calls today on MEPs to assess and analyse in depth the potential impacts of their proposals and to adapt them accordingly.