Food & Farming: What Future for Europe?
Does the Farm to Fork strategy offer more opportunities or obstacles for the European agri-food system?
Rome – Brussels, 06 May 2021 – The live stream meeting, “Food and Farming: what future for Europe?” was held yesterday afternoon. This deep-dive into the Farm to Fork Strategy promoted by Eunews in collaboration with Carni Sostenibili and European Livestock Voice served as an open dialogue between policy makers and the livestock value chain following the launch of the video appeal, “The 9 paradoxes of the Farm to Fork”. The European livestock sector is keen to forge a constructive dialogue with the EU institutions to ensure greater involvement in the legislative process for the strategy intended to guide EU agri-food policies in the coming decades.
“Our post-Covid-19 future will not – and must not – be simply ‘let’s go back to business as usual’. Each actor will have to play their role to successfully achieve the transition to sustainable food systems. Livestock is an essential sector of EU agriculture and is part of the solution, and I count on this sector to pursue its efforts towards sustainable production in line with the objectives of the Green Deal.” – said Claire Bury, Deputy Director General DG SANTE of the European Commission, who participated in the debate.
Luigi Scordamaglia, President of Assocarni and Italian representative for the Carni Sostenibili Association, spoke precisely on the risks and opportunities of the Farm to Fork strategy. “An extraordinary opportunity” – notes Scordamaglia – “but also a risk, namely that this green transition is not guided by an objective and rational approach, based on numbers and data, but is conditioned by ideological approaches and this would transform an opportunity into a defeat for producers but also for European consumers”. Concerning sustainability, which is increasingly the focal point in which the debate gets heated, President Scordamaglia recalled: “To those who think that one becomes sustainable by returning to using a wooden plough, I would like to point out that the results in sustainability achieved in Italy derive from being the second country in the world in the use of robotics and in the automation of the food sector. We are the eighth economy in the world for GDP, but only the third from last regarding CO2 emissions. This is the path to sustainability that we want”. – concluded Scordamaglia.
“I believe that the Farm to Fork strategy proposed by the Commission for agri-food chains is of high value due to the effective involvement of both consumers and operators. However, we must assess the impacts of this strategy principally from an economic and social perspective: this is important for citizens and especially for operators who are committed to guaranteeing accessibility to and affordability of food” declared Herbert Dorfmann, MEP, AGRI Committee, reiterating that “a scientific approach is essential to sustainability”.
On distant but not diametrically opposed positions MEP Jytte Guteland, from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats stressed the need for a change of pace also in the livestock sector in view of sustainability objectives. According to the MEP, the sector has not yet achieved this. “With regard to the Farm to Fork strategy there is a lot of sensitivity, but it should be recalled that we are going through a historic period with the Green Deal which represents a fundamental step for future generations. The direction on sustainability must be clear” – said Guteland – “although much has been done, there is still work to be done, but we can achieve our goals. Farmers today are the real heroes of everyday life because food is the source of life. However, we need a sustainable future for this sector, a new direction for Europe in the distribution of incentives that must be destined above all to those farmers who decide to orient practices towards sustainability”. And she concluded, “In summary we can say that farmers are not part of the problem but part of the solution”.
Finally, Pekka Pesonen, Copa – Cogeca Secretary General, who spoke on behalf of European Livestock Voice, the Association that brings together the European Livestock value chain associations, recalled the commitment in terms of sustainability of animal husbandry, underlining its economic value. Today, in fact, the sector represents about 40% of the entire European agricultural sector for a value of 170 billion Euro with 4 million employees. “What we need” – concluded Pesonen – “is for the European Union to implement policies that allow the agricultural sector to make the necessary changes to maintain our European de-centralized model of agriculture, a model that would sustain world-known culinary heritage, contribute to the wider economy in rural areas, support circularity and respond to the future expectations of consumers.”
Note to the Editors
European Livestock Voice is a multi-stakeholder group of like-minded EU partners united to return a balanced debate about a sector that is playing such an essential role in Europe’s rich heritage and future. The associations represent sectors ranging from animal health to feed, from breeding and animal farming to farmers; together they aim to inform the public about the social value of livestock production and its contribution to global challenges, offering another perspective in the ongoing debates.
Association Carni Sostenibili is a non-profit association that represents all the production chains dedicated to the processing and transformation of Italian meat (beef, pork and poultry), with the aim of promoting sustainable production and conscious consumption of meat and cured meats. Founded in 2012, the association has created a digital communication platform, supported by the publication of studies and research, to promote correct scientific information and its divulgation, regarding the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the entire meat supply chain.
This event was also supported by Somos Ganaderia.