EU Farm to Fork Strategy: Sustainability needs an economic perspective
Last Monday, the European Parliament adopted the report of the two Committees on Agriculture (AGRI) and Environment (ENVI) on the Farm to Fork Strategy. Our Executive Vice-President Ulrike Müller, as shadow rapporteur for the Renew Europe Group in the AGRI, led the negotiations on this landmark strategy for European agriculture together with her Danish group colleague Asger Christensen (ENVI).
Farmers are part of the solution, not the cause of a problem
German MEP Ulrike Müller sees the Farm to Fork strategy and the subsequent referral to the European Parliament as a first step in the right direction: "I am very pleased that the strategy sees farmers as part of the solution and not as the cause of problems. Farmers want to play their part in making agriculture and food production more sustainable. However, they are faced with increasingly complex and often incoherent regulations and environmental and climate targets. Therefore, they need a reliable and inconsistent framework, which we want to develop with the Farm-to-Fork Strategy."
However, Ulrike Müller still sees a great need for action on this issue: "In its current form, the strategy is more of a sketch and still leaves many questions open for the implementation of the announced initiatives."
Sustainability must pay off
Ulrike Müller was able to introduce her key issues in the lengthy negotiations successfully. It was essential to her that the strategy clearly states a perspective on profitability: "Sustainable agricultural practices must be worthwhile as a business model across the board. This is not a foregone conclusion but a challenge for politics, business, and consumers. This is about the commercialisation of sustainable practices," says Ulrike Müller. However, it is also crucial that environmental and climate policy targets are technically sound and realistically achievable. "Targets for reducing agricultural input must be examined before they are adopted to see whether farmers have the tools to do so and what the effects on the agricultural market will be. Without a robust test, we lose farmers", she said.
Ulrike Müller was also able to bring to the strategy the understanding that sustainability is not a closed concept but is multifaceted and multidimensional and that conflicting goals must be resolved. These dimensions must be managed interactively and negotiated in a broad social dialogue. According to Ulrike Müller, this only works if politics involves all stakeholders in the decision-making processes.