Farm to Fork Strategy – for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system
The EU Commission launched its Farm to Fork strategy this week as part of the European Green Deal. The aim of the Farm to Fork Strategy is to ensure that issues such as climate change, food security, farm incomes, land resources and biodiversity are all protected in the food supply chain from farm through processing, transportation, marketing and consumption.
Accelerating our transition to a sustainable food system will help mitigate climate change, protect and restore biodiversity, ensure food security and public health, preserve food affordability and generate fair economic returns for producers.
50% reduction in pesticide, reduced the overall risk and use of hazardous chemicals and pesticides
50% reduction in nutrient losses whilst retaining soil fertility, resulting in 20% less fertilisers
50% reduction in anti-microbials for farmed animals and aquaculture
25% increase in the percentage of organically farmed agricultural land in the EU
Pesticides and other hazardous chemicals are harmful to biodiversity but also if they leak into waterways so this measure is very positive for water quality. Nutrient losses are a significant pressure on water quality in Ireland’s lakes, rivers and coastal waters so a target of 50% reduction by 2030 is very welcome for the protection of our water resources and aquatic environments. A reduction in antimicrobial use is very important for healthy food chains and human health. A 25% increase in organic farming represents a 10-fold increase in Ireland and this is welcome as farming with nature benefits biodiversity, soil and water quality.
A new EU Code of Conduct for responsible food production that includes reducing its environmental footprint, and new strategies for food pricing and packaging are to be introduced by 2021. It will support innovation in sustainable packaging materials and the reduction of food waste by using labels such as ‘best before’ rather than ‘use by’ by 2022. The development of short supply chains focusing on local sourcing and consumption is to be encouraged.
These measures all have positive outcomes for water quality (including reduced micro-plastics), soil fertility, climate mitigation as well as biodiversity and will also benefit farmers, communities, public health and well-being and that of future generations.
The strategy sets out both regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives, with the common agricultural and fisheries policies as key tools to support a just transition. A proposal for a legislative framework for sustainable food systems will be put forward to support implementation of the strategy and development of sustainable food policy.