Benefits of extensive livestock farming and organic fertilizers in the context of the European Green Deal (EGD) (IR) (information report)

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Practical information

  1. Composition of the study group
  2. Administrator / Assistant in charge : Martine Delanoy / Luca Pitrone
  3. Contact

Background

For years the EESC has been at the forefront of promoting a sustainable agriculture and a comprehensive EU food policy. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that getting food "from farm to fork" cannot be taken for granted, and that resilience and sustainability of European farmers and inclusive supply chains in the whole agriculture and food sector are needed more than ever to deliver equally for citizens, farmers, workers, business and the environment.

The European Green Deal sets the Commission’s commitment to tackling climate and environmental-related challenges. As explicitly stated in the European Green Deal, European farmers are key to managing the transition to a sustainable and climate-neutral society. The common agricultural policy (CAP) should make a significant contribution to the European Green Deal, especially with regard to the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies, setting higher ambitions for environmental and climate action, striving for more sustainable and resilient food systems and ensuring that the social dimension is properly taken into account.

The extensive livestock farming opens a big opportunity in the way to achieve these targets. Furthermore, the "Farm to Fork" strategy recognises that there is an urgent need to reduce the misuse of fertilisers, and that farmers (in particular) need to change their production methods to reduce and optimise the use of inputs (such as fertilisers). In the strategy, the Commission wants to reduce nutrient losses by at least 50% while ensuring that soil fertility does not deteriorate (target of reduction in the use of fertilisers by at least 20% by 2030). The Commission will work with Member States to extend the application of sustainable farming practices, particularly in critical areas of intensive livestock farming, and the recycling of organic waste into renewable fertilisers. The optimisation of the use of organic fertilisers while limiting the use of chemical nitrogen fertilisers may also help to achieve this target.

In this context, this information report seeks to analyse the important benefits that the extensive livestock farming and organic fertilizers can provide in terms of sustainability in line with the new Green Deal goals as well as its role into the EU recovery plan. Its aim is to analyse and improve the existing tools and mechanisms related to the reduction of the environmental impact of livestock practices, through the use of extensive livestock farming and the extension of the conditions of use of organic fertilisers. It will also explore how the livestock sector can provide consumers with highly sustainable and healthy food systems while contributing to the reduction of emissions and to mitigate the climate change.