JOINT STATEMENT: Farm to Fork Strategy: how to reach the targets?

27th January 2022

With the Farm to Fork deadline looming in 8 years’ time and no comprehensive impact
assessment in sight, we must build solution-oriented policies, based on the available data
we have at hand, with innovation as their cornerstone.
European agri-food production is among the most resource-efficient and sustainable in the
world. The European farming sector believes that, with innovation and further support at
the forefront of EU agricultural policy, farmers will and can continue to produce in an even
more sustainable manner. We acknowledge the expectations of society and policymakers
for food production systems and believe that innovation is key in the sustainable transition
outlined by the Farm to Fork Strategy. But innovation cannot happen without the necessary
legislative and financial support. The agri-food sector calls on European policymakers to
enable innovation as a driver of its Farm to Fork targets.

This is how the agri-food value chain can contribute:

The animal health industry is currently at the forefront of a technological and digital
transformation. Breakthroughs in biotechnology, detection tools and robotics, genomic
testing, and advanced vaccines, amongst others, are set to become essential tools for the
future of both livestock farming and the veterinary profession. By supporting access to and
training on how to best use such innovations, farmers will be able to optimise the health
and welfare of animals in their care, reduce environmental impacts, ensure better
traceability, and support responsible use of medicines, amongst others.

AVEC – Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade in the EU Countries
A large part of the GHG emissions associated with the poultry meat sector are coming from
feed sources. The European poultry meat sector has the ambition to reduce its
environmental impact by using more sustainable feed sources (phasing out the use of feed
associated with deforestation) and by further improving the efficiency of the sector
(digestibility). The sector is also looking to make its supply chain more circular (by using
biogas, solar panels) and more climate-friendly (on transport, packaging and on the use of

The European agricultural machinery sector supports farmers of all farm types and sizes to
get the most from their land, while protecting the environment and bringing economic and
social value. Investments in advanced farm machinery, precision farming technologies and
digital solutions will help our farmers stay competitive in the transition towards more
sustainable farming practices, ensuring a generation renewal of European farming activities.
The objectives of the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy cannot be
achieved without smart technologies and digital transformation. We call on European policy
makers to champion the uptake of precision farming and smart technologies through
advanced agricultural machinery and solutions.

Impact assessments and studies have shown the significant impacts of the Farm to Fork
targets on EU agricultural production and trade, as well as on EU farmers. The feasibility of
reaching these targets will depend on the support provided to innovative practices,
techniques and products. In particular, the current and future regulatory framework on
plant protection must avoid the arising of agro-technical deadlocks resulting from the
removal of plant protection solutions from the farmers’ toolbox before viable alternative
come onstream. Enough time must be given for viable alternatives from innovation to
become effectively available to (and workable for) farmers. Furthermore, policy/regulatory
framework should not inhibit but promote innovation, notably as regards new plant
breeding techniques and their results. Last but not least, policy/regulatory framework
should be able to take account of the extent to which good agricultural practices, including
IPM, are already applied by farmers in the EU.

The European Meat Processing sector believes that a swift transition towards more
sustainable food systems should be made in a holistic, fair and coordinated way, by taking
into account that any sector is part of the solution and solutions should be found within any
sector. There are no sustainable and unsustainable sectors, but more and less sustainable
business practices. The debate is now based on a divisive approach which could undermine
the target of more sustainable food systems. We call on a less divisive approach in the
implementation of the Farm to Fork Strategy, the removal of regulatory bottlenecks which
can limit innovation and harmonized solutions which can promote a level playing field for
the European operators.

The upcoming global challenges our food chains have started facing – from climate change
to disruptive innovation – require comprehensive regulation to better adapt and possibly
thrive in uncertain times. Safe crop protection solutions placed on the EU market, together
with qualified advisory to farmers and growers, help meet the productivity goals under the
Farm to Fork, thereby providing safe, affordable food for the EU population. Yet,
interconnectedness and rapid evolution of our food systems food demand unparalleled and
fast-adapting regulatory tools.
COCERAL believes that standards established at the international level plus continuous
dialogue with third countries should inspire actions directed to harmonisation, lessening
hidden barriers whilst maintaining high safety standards for consumers and citizens
wherever they live, plus environmental care.Advancements flourishing in the domain of
sustainable alternatives and green agriculture – including life sciences and biotechnology –
should ideally be reflected in enabling regulatory frameworks in due course. Furthermore,
innovation doesn’t stop at borders. There is much need for a world-oriented and futurelooking European policy for innovation, accounting for food security, safety and
sustainability, as well as for interoperability of current supply chains. In the absence of this,
EU traders and Food Business Operators alike will be confronted with hidden obstacles and
costly consequences. To do this, we believe that the broader EU regulatory architecture
must have a fast-paced, solutions enabling and innovation-focused approach, with local
relevance but also global outreach.

Copa-Cogeca agree with the main goals set out in the Farm to Fork Strategy, we know that
changes are necessary, and we remain committed to playing our part in the path towards a
transition to a more sustainable food system. Indeed, European farmers, forest owners and
their cooperatives are already all working in that direction. We are now waiting for concrete
proposals from the Commission, especially on the blind spots identified in the ongoing
debate such as on the effects of carbon leakage, European strategic autonomy, or consumer
prices. This is about finding new EU enabling ways to contribute to change in a practical and
realistic manner talking about: low risk substances – to replace means to combat pest and
disease while losing synthetic molecules; New Breeding/Genomic Techniques to improve
farming resilience naturally through better genetic material; developing dynamic market for
nutrients, by mineral fertilisers and in particular organic fertilisers; Next steps in the Unfair
Trading Practices Directive, for more balanced, transparent value chain; Policy consistency
across the EU – we are committed to the common policies, but how will this will be
translated into the increasingly open international trade.

CropLife Europe
We need a regulatory framework that supports innovation in agriculture which will help
deliver the European green and digital transformations. EU authorisation giving timely
access to a variety of innovative crop protection solutions is the most important part of
farmers’ ability to improve quality, market access and tradability of fresh produce.

EFFAB – European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders
Through selective animal breeding, we achieve better use of feed by animals, reduced
carbon footprint and improved animal health and welfare whilst preserving genetic
resources – from conventional to organic farming. However, we need more support for
research and innovation and to develop legal instruments and tools, in order to accelerate
the genetic improvement of farmed animals, and to provide further solutions for farmers,
breeders and our society boosting sustainability of EU food systems.

ELO European Landowners Organisation
Innovations such as the New Genomic Techniques (NGT) need to be considered if we are
serious about reaching the F2F targets and remain competitive at a global scale. The EU’s
current legal framework on GMOs needs to be revised and gene-editing research needs to
be encouraged to bridge the gap with other major producing countries. Likewise, we need
to have more safe crop protection products and fertilisers on the market. Farmers need
them in order to make the transition towards a more sustainable and viable food system.
Enabling SMEs access on the market by ensuring a lighter registration process can give
farmers the tools they need to reach the ambitious targets set for them.

The biorefineries that produce renewable ethanol are working, real-life examples of the
bioeconomy in action. European feedstock grown by EU farmers is used to make several
important products: including not just renewable low-carbon fuel but also food, highprotein GMO-free animal feed, alcohol for use in hand sanitiser, and captured CO2 for
beverage use. The Farm-to-Fork Strategy should promote this domestic biorefinery system,
empowering EU climate ambitions, improving food security and ensuring a strategic supply

We need a regulatory environment that encourages plant breeding and delivers on both
purposes: quality assurance for customers (the reproductive material meets their demands
regardless of the production system, conventional/organic) and speeding up the
development of new varieties (for which New Genomic Techniques are a crucial element).

The Farm to Fork strategy has recognised the key role of specialty feed ingredients stressing
the need to facilitate the placing on the market of sustainable and innovative feed additives.
The up-coming modernization of the EU feed additive rules is a unique opportunity to
address the shortcomings of the current regulatory framework, such as the lengthy and
costly authorization procedure, unnecessary administrative burden, the regulatory hurdles
to the application of digital solutions, and the need for alignment with other EU legislation.
We are calling on the European Commission to work with the stakeholders of the feed
sector in order to elaborate a proposal that supports innovation and progress towards
achieving objectives of the Green Deal/Farm to Fork Strategy with the help of feed

The production of feed for food-producing animals plays a key role in determining the
sustainability of animal products. Animal production itself plays a key role in determining
the sustainability of the whole food system. The impacts that the Farm to Fork Strategy is
envisioned to make on the EU Regulatory Framework respective to food production should
start from the premises that the different farm animals and the different livestock farming
systems all have their strengths, as they excel differently in terms of nutrient and resource
efficiency. In the effort to further boost the livestock sector’s role in circular economy, with
its capacity to absorb residual biomass from other (industrial) food and non-food sectors,
the EU should keep in mind that efforts to boost the sustainability of energy production,
with use of advanced biofuels, can impact the competitive access of the feed sector to
residual biomass flows in the future.

Fertilizers Europe
As 50 % of global food production is down to the use of mineral fertilizers, the European
fertilizer industry plays a vital role in ensuring a resilient European agriculture and in
providing citizens with affordable and nutritious food. Increased nutrient use efficiency will
be key to meet Europe’s ambitious goal of reducing nutrient losses while ensuring no
deterioration of soil fertility. This goal can best be achieved by increasing nutrient use
efficiency and setting up nutrient management plans as well as development and uptake of
on-farm precise fertilization techniques. The sector is committed to work hand-in hand with
farmers to advance a productive, resilient and sustainable EU agriculture.

Without innovative techniques, it is quite clear that the EU farming community and its
downstream users would be unable to guarantee sufficient affordable high-quality produce
for EU citizens and for the growing world population – and as a consequence achieve all the
ambitious goals foreseen in the Farm-to-Fork Strategy. Innovative techniques such as New
Genomic Techniques are key in meeting society’s growing demand to speed up efforts to
further increase sustainability and respect for the environment. However, innovation
requires time and investments in terms of R&D to overcome technical barriers. The
uncertainty currently generated at EU level risks preventing NGTs from becoming
mainstream and a permanent part of the agricultural toolbox. Linked to this, the effects of
climate change, as well as the efforts made to face them, affect all individuals and economic
sectors, but in particular rural communities and agriculture. Agriculture being one of the
economic sectors most strongly depending on natural conditions, the efforts required to
adapt to a changing environment are particularly important for farmers. The Agriculture &
Progress Platform would therefore like to call upon the European Commission to not only
integrate globally the challenges of agriculture in its policies but to additionally see
agriculture as a means to an end / key player for achieving them (climate change, energy
transition, bio economy, …).

The European Livestock and Meat Trades Union is a reliable sustainability actor from the
economic, ecological and social angle

  • in the way our 50 associations and 20 000 companies handle welfare, trade, and reduce
  • in our supportive approach to the Farm-to-Fork strategy
  • in concretely working towards a science-based methodology to devise solutions to our
    environmental footprint and in developing a data-based sensitivity analysis (to be
    communicated soon)
    From farm to fork via factory, UECBV implements a true circular economy approach based
    on trade. It aims for a balanced biosystem which includes animals and plant production,
    supports innovation and prepares for the expected transition. Meat is a nutritious and
    cultural food able to be produced in a sustainable manner and delivering on consumer
    expectations. UECBV is strongly involved in finding innovative solutions using given and
    developing tools like the already signed Code of Conduct, and is able to open doors to
    transversal approaches for a proven resilient sector.