Copa-Cogeca welcome European Agriculture Committee vote on food security

The twin apex bodies said farmers should be treated fairly if they are subjected to tighter restrictions under a Green Deal framework

The European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee adopted a report on food security on 25 April, a move welcomed by Copa-Cogeca.

The two apexes, which represent European farmers and agri co-ops, pointed out that the past few years have been challenging for the sector, particularly due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on supply chains.

“In this context European farmers and agri-co-operatives have continued to produce restlessly to feed EU citizens and responsibly contribute to alleviate global food insecurity,” they said. “It is partly also thanks to the CAP that we have managed to ensure food security and affordability, in a context in which farmers needed to have a predictable source of income together.”

Adopted with 39 votes in favour, eight against and no abstentions, the report calls on the European Commission to “take the necessary measures to provide farmers with planning security and guarantees, making it possible to maintain and, if necessary, increase food production in the EU”.

It also points out that “the European Green Deal could be a milestone in the EU transition to a greener and more sustainable economy” but warns that many of the resulting measures might have adverse effects, which have not yet been properly assessed, on EU farms and food security. As such, it calls on the Commission to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the cumulative impact of Green Deal legislative proposals on the EU farming sector.

It also suggests a range of measures to help the sector, such as allowing a temporary derogation, as well as the use of alternatives to chemical fertilisers such as RENURE (‘REcovered Nitrogen from manURE’) and digestate which increase circularity on farms and granting financial support to farmers to implement digital technologies and precision crop management. An EU-specific programme should also be devised to help boost the modernisation of irrigation facilities and the promotion of new water management infrastructure, adds the report.

In terms of food waste, the report suggests making investments in infrastructure for more sustainable transport and storage facilities of farm products.

It also calls for developing an EU protein and feed strategy as part of the food security plan to enable farmers to become less dependent on imports from third countries.

“If we face tighter restrictions on cultivation and higher production standards due to the EU framework, EU farmers expect to be treated fairly by the Commission’s trade policy,” warned Copa and Cogeca. The two apexes also welcomed the attention given to innovation in the report.

Marlene Mortler MEP (EPP, Germany), who wrote the report, said: “The European Commission should ensure that our farmers are able to produce and supply high-value agricultural commodities.

“The objectives of the Green Deal must be implemented in such a way that food security is not compromised and that sustainability is ensured in environmental, economic and social terms. Now it looks as if the European Commission has difficulties hearing the problems of farmers.”

She added: “The war in Ukraine and rising costs are creating the fear that supply chains may become geopolitical tools. At the same time, several law proposals by the European Commission are either cutting agricultural production or diminishing the arable land area.”

“The Parliament proposes several measures to strengthen the position of primary producers in the food chain, support young and female farmers, and encourage investments. Instead of creating new burdens for farmers, the EPP Group calls on the Commission to take steps to protect the future of farmers and food security.”

The draft resolution will now go through a plenary vote in Parliament in June.