A radical recipe for reform of European agricultural policy was served up to EU farm ministers before they began talks in Brussels today.

Campaigners from the ‘Good Food Good Farming’ movement presented European agricultural experts arriving in Brussels for a farm summit with a petition signed by over 114,000 people calling for sustainable agriculture.

 

In June the European Commission published its proposal for reforming the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which environmental groups warn sets the stage for a ‘race to the bottom’ on ecological farm standards as under the plan countries would have little incentive to link farm subsidy payments to environmental protection. For countries to go the extra mile and champion environmental protection they could be effectively putting their farmers in at a negative competitive advantage in Europe.

In response to the Commission’s CAP reform proposal, over the last two months, thousands of people across Europe have taken part in events in 20 countries to call on EU political leaders to deliver a sustainable food system that is fair, healthy and humane for producers, consumers, the environment, and animals.

Every year, huge amounts of European taxpayers’ money is spent on subsidies to industrial agriculture which contributes to habitat destruction and species loss.

Franziskus Forster, a small-scale farmer from Austria who is part of the Via Campesina network, said:

We urgently need to shift to agroecological and low-impact farming systems to protect nature, farmers’ livelihoods and the resources we rely on to produce food. This means ending subsidies for industrial agriculture and instead ensuring that all farmers procure decent prices and incomes, and making good food affordable to all.”

Over 30,000 people marched for better food and farming in Berlin last January, and a second major protest was held in the German capital at the end of October.


Find out more about the Good Food Good Farming campaign.