The EESC has for years been at the forefront of promoting a comprehensive EU food policy, with the aim of providing healthy diets from sustainable food systems, linking agriculture to nutrition and ecosystem services and ensuring supply chains that protect public health for the whole of European society.
In the Committee's view, the proposed Farm to Fork strategy does not reflect these objectives sufficiently.
A crucial tool for accomplishing the strategy is the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) budget, as it represents around 40% of total EU expenditure. Therefore, the CAP budget should be increased in line with those objectives.
The strategy also fails to address the issue of sustainable land management and access to land, one of the main obstacles to renewing the farming population. At the same time, the income-support function of CAP payments is vital and will remain so for years to come, even as steps are taken to ensure that food prices reflect true production costs.
Another major concern for EU farmers is that of having to compete with imported products that do not meet the targets set for sustainability. Therefore, the EESC calls on the EU to ensure genuinely reciprocal standards in preferential trade agreements.
Europe and the world have a long way to go to become fully sustainable. Europe has the tools and the know-how to get there. Let's prove that we also have the necessary political will and commitment, and show the way to others,says the EESC.(mr)