EU Agricultural Outlook Conference: Fit for 2030? 9-10 December 2021

On 9-10 December, the European Commission organised its annual EU Agricultural Outlook Conference, themed Fit for 2030?

In his opening speech on ‘The CAP fit for 2030’, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, declared that agriculture should not be a factory to produce as much as possible regardless of the environmental impact. Emphasis will be given on agroecology, the soil’s capacity to sequestrate carbon, and better water management. He stated that despite what certain say, the CAP’s green architecture does not mean less efficiency nor a threat to food security. The Commissioner also recommended to have an open dialogue at national level between farmers, society, and national officials to ensure all parties are involved. There is still space for improvement until the draft CAP Strategic Plans are submitted.

During the session on organic farming, FiBL researcher Jürn Sanders affirmed that “under organic farming, soil related emissions can be reduced by 1000 kg per ha” and that “taking into consideration the potential CO2 sequestration of organic farming, this farming practice should be one element of a strategy to fight against global warming.”

Kurt Sannen, IFOAM Organics Europe’s Chair of the Interest Group of Organic Farmers, stressed the need for a more systemic approach, and the need to think ‘how we can create fair agricultural systems that can give a fair remuneration to farmers’. He added that we must change our mindset from producing as much as possible, to optimising food production. He added that we must ask ourselves how we can feed healthy food to people with an agricultural system that can deliver within planetary boundaries. He also recalled that livestock is important but stressed the need to shift towards a more plant-based diet and to consume less but better quality and organic meat.

Finally, Nathalie Sauze-Vandevyver, DG AGRI’s Director for Quality, Research & Innovation, and Outreach Directorate, stated several good reasons to support organic farming: the direct positive effect on biodiversity, water, and animal welfare; the multiplier effect given more organic land will help to reach other EU Farm to Fork target; fair income to farmers; and organic farming attractiveness for young farmers and women.

Have a look at agenda of the 2021 EU Agricultural Outlook Conference on the Commission’s website. You will also find all presentations.

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