"From farm to fork": a sustainable food strategy

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Practical information


Background

The Farm to Fork strategy was announced as a key component of the European Green Deal, with the overall objective of "designing a fair, healthy and environmentally- friendly food system"[1]. It aims at contributing to Europe's climate change agenda, protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity. It also aims at ensuring farmers' and fishers' position in the value chain, encouraging sustainable food consumption and promoting affordable and healthy food for all.

On the scope, the Communication on the European Green Deal states that the strategy will address each and every step of the food chain, from production and processing through to marketing, consumption and international trade. The goal of the strategy is to change the way we produce and consume, without compromising on the safety, quality and affordability of food. It will be the first EU strategy to encompass the entirety of the food chain.

The EESC welcomes the announcement of the strategy, which represents a crucial opportunity to achieve more sustainable food systems, to provide a coherent and decisive response to societal concerns about biodiversity, climate change, health, income of all workers across the food chain.

Integrated public governance approaches are key to create a series of compulsory (regulations and taxes) and incentivising (price premiums, access to credit, resources and insurance) measures that underpin the transitions towards EU sustainable food systems. The Farm to Fork strategy should establish overarching objectives for EU food systems, and ensure alignment of various sectoral policies with those objectives. In other words, the Farm to Fork strategy should contain coherent and mutually-reinforcing policy measures to ensure transition towards sustainable food systems, in the EU and beyond.

A comprehensive EU food policy should: 1. be environmentally, socio-culturally and economically sustainable; 2. be integrated across sectors, policy areas and levels of governance; 3. be inclusive of all areas of society; and 4. reinforce fair working conditions across the chain. It should be designed to re-align and harmonise existing EU policy tools, thus improving coherence across food-related policy areas (agriculture, trade, environment, development, education, food safety, etc.). All stakeholders across the food supply chain have a role to play in the development of a comprehensive framework in order to achieve a fair distribution along the chain.

The EESC has called for the development of new Sustainable Dietary Guidelines that take into account cultural and geographical differences between and within Member States. Sustainable Dietary Guidelines would help create a clearer direction for farms, processors, retailers and the catering industry, and the agri-food system would benefit from a new "framework" to produce, process, distribute and sell healthier and more sustainable food at a fairer price[2].

Without trade policies being aligned with the objectives of the ecological and climate transition, we will not be able to convince economic players to make the changes required, because they will face dumping from abroad. The same requirements should therefore be placed on domestic and imported produce.

Transparency policies across the entire supply chain, from production to post-consumption, as a means of maintaining maximum consumer trust, must be fostered.

 


[2]            OJ C 190, 5.06.2019, p. 9


[1]            COM(2019) 640 final.