- The EU must become food self-sufficient
- Investments in digitalisation and modernisation of agriculture needed
- Call for campaigns against food waste, national food prevention programmes and cooperation of supermarkets with food banks
- Agricultural entrepreneurship and activity must be maintained when implementing the Green Deal
The EU must strengthen its food security, autonomy and resilience of its farming sector in the light of COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and climate change.
In a resolution, adopted on Wednesday by 447 votes to 142 and 31 abstentions, Parliament says the EU must become less dependent on third countries and diversify the supply of critical production imports such as fertiliser, feed and raw materials. MEPs call for a food security plan based on food stocks, protein and feed strategy and financial support to European producers.
Financing for farmers’ access to digital technologies and precision crop management is key for the increase of yields and the reduction of pesticides use and water consumption, they add. A new EU programme should be created to modernise irrigation facilities and promote new water management infrastructure.
MEPs want EU campaigns against food waste, national food waste prevention programmes, for supermarkets to cooperate with food banks, and they advocate for investments in infrastructure for more sustainable transport and storage facilities of farm products. A chapter on food and agricultural products should be part of trade agreements in order to fight unfair competition from third country producers who are subject to less strict legislation.
Impact of the European Green Deal on agriculture
Acknowledging the European Green Deal as a possible “milestone in the EU’s transition to a greener, more sustainable and resilient economy and agriculture”, MEPs argue “some of the proposed measures might have unintended effects, which have not yet been properly assessed and identified at farm level”. The Commission should therefore ensure in the implementation of the Green Deal that “agricultural entrepreneurship and activity is maintained across the Union from a strategic point of view in terms of food security”.
Rapporteur Marlene Mortler (EPP, DE) said: “Self-sufficiency in food cannot be taken for granted. Europe must become more independent. We can only ensure our food security if European farmers have a strong, viable position in the food chain and can invest in the future. They want innovation and they need motivation! Our farmers deserve reliable political and practical conditions. We therefore propose to strengthen the role of primary producers in the food chain, support young and female farmers, and boost investment and innovation. This is the only way to create a positive perspective for European farmers, their future generations and our food security.”
In adopting this resolution, Parliament is responding to citizens’ expectations about the future of agriculture, food production, biodiversity, ecosystems and pollution as expressed in the Proposals 1(1), 1(3), 1(6), 1(7); about sustainable consumption, packaging and production as expressed in the Proposal 5(2) and about enhancing EU’s competitiveness and further deepening the Single Market as expressed in the Proposal 12(12) of the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe.