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 20 oct 2021 15:45 

Farm to Fork Strategy: Young farmers need more certainty

Members of the European Parliament voted yesterday to define their position on the Farm to Fork Strategy released in May 2020 by the European Commission. While European young farmers welcome discussions on making our food system more sustainable, concerns remain on the lack of certainty currently surrounding the Strategy. Young farmers reiterate their call for potential risks and trade-offs to be addressed, and for solid enablers to be put at their disposal in the implementation phase on their pathways towards more sustainability.

Reacting to the plenary vote on the Farm to Fork Strategy own-initiative report, CEJA President Diana Lenzi emphasised that: “Young farmers want to play their role in the green transition, but this week’s European Parliament debate and vote brought again forward fears that some of us will be left behind in this transition.” Adding up to that, she stressed: “What we ask policymakers is to address all the risks and potential trade-offs emerging from the transition, including the short-term economic impact farmers will very likely bear on their shoulders, the difficulty to sustain public support and private investment in the long-run, the gap with our trade policy, as well as the uncertainty around the development and application of future technological advancements.”

Young farmers support the EU’s attempt – echoed by last September UN Food System Summit - to connect actors from across the food chain and explore through a holistic perspective ways to make our food system more sustainable. Yet, they believe in the need to put forward a solid methodology to assess and monitor the performance of the various targets they are asked to achieve on the ground. They are also calling for further pragmatism when it comes to the argument that the CAP alone will be able to accompany them in this shift towards greater sustainability. A combination of regulatory and market instruments will be needed together with a better acknowledgement of their efforts not only in words but also in economic terms in the value chain.

While the ambition of shaping a food system fit for the future necessarily speaks to the hearts of European young farmers, as much as it speaks to the hearts of MEPs, they also experience the complexity to get there every day on their farms. Almost one year and a half after the publication of the Farm to Fork Strategy, it is now high time for EU policymakers to address this complexity and define ambitions and tools that are in line with young farmers’ realities.

For details, read now EU young farmers’ reality check of the Farm to Fork Strategy by clicking here.


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