FARM TO FORK AND BIODIVERSITY STRATEGIES – THE COMMISSION SHOULD COME OUT CLEAN ON THE REAL IMPACT
The Commission proposals on the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies have been released without any impact assessment – on the agriculture production, on prices, on the trade balance, on food security.
It is worth quickly reminding which their key targets were, to be achieved by 2030:
- 10% agricultural land set-aside
- -20% chemical fertilizers
- -50% chemical pesticides
- 25% share of organic production
- Plantation of 3bn trees
- -50% antimicrobials for livestock
You do not need to be an expert to figure out that the impact of such drastic reductions in just a decade has to be huge.
The Commission was criticised by farmer’s organisations and by EP leading MEPs for the lack of an impact assessment – a normal, obligatory procedural step on other Commission proposals.
The Commission has responded that the impact assessment would still be carried out, but no precise indications on timing and specifics were given. Some Commission officials seemed to say that the impact assessment could be fractioned, which would make it impossible to have a clear view on the real impact; whilst others seemed to be more open to revise the targets if the impact assessment shows how negative the consequences would be.
Meanwhile in its impact assessment of the 2030 Climate Plan, the Commission refers to a Modelling Study conducted to evaluate the impact of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies on agriculture, but gives no further details on the results, nor is the study available to the public.
The only impact assessment published so far was the recent ERS/USDA “Economic and Food Security Impacts of Agricultural Input Reduction Under the European Union Green Deal’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies”.
Without even taking into account the impact of achieving a 25% share of organic production and planting 3bn trees, the ERS/USDA impact assessment finds that the Commission proposals would reduce EU agriculture production by 12%, increase prices by 17%, reduce exports by 20%, increase imports by 2%, shrink gross farm income by 16%, and increase the annual per capita food cost in the EU by $ 153.
If that were to be the case that would spell disaster for our farmers, wipe out our food security, compromise the food security of many developing countries in particular in Africa, and weigh on the pockets of consumers.
It is high time that the Commission publishes an Impact Assessment on its proposals. It must be comprehensive and independent from political pressure. We have the right to know what we should expect, and the Commission has the duty to come clean on the results and act accordingly.