No Future for Farming without Reducing Pesticide Dependency

(Brussels, 29th November 2017) PAN Europe welcomes the European Commission opening up for another round of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform as the current one does not deliver on pesticides. However, we deeply regret that the CAP Communication published today- despite its ambitious title ‘The Future of Food and Farming’- fails to provide a vision for tomorrow’s agricultural sector in Europe, and fails to explain what farmers and Member States need to do in the ‘future delivery model’.

PAN Europe emphasizes that we urgently need a CAP that encourages the transition towards low impact farming. Although,we are pleased to see that the CAP Communication includes this aspect (1), we strongly oppose the many so-called ‘general solutions’ proposed throughout the document, always repeatedly referring to precision farming (2). Instead, the main role of the CAP should be to reconnect farmers again to their land and to look for nature based solutions, rather than continuously pushing towards a future EU model of farming focused on more of the same (intensification, specialization).

We seriously question the CAP Communication’s logic of converting the biggest EU policy, which spends 60 billion euro/year, into a ‘future delivery model’, giving up on a number of known - but poorly implemented- EU instruments (2). This is done without having defined actual EU objectives, EU targets and EU success indicators. Instead we call for an EU approach to solve European problems such as water pollution, farmers’ and citizens’ health, biodiversity crashes and climate change.

The idea of handing over all responsibility to Member States (2) will not work.The CAP should deliver strong common action on common problems. Already back in 2009, when the EU Directive on Sustainable Use of Pesticides was agreed, the European Union agreed on reducing pesticide dependency, and as a result protecting soil, water and biodiversity.  But even the European Commission’s own evaluation, from October 2017, recognizes that Member States have done very little so far. Just as regrettably, Member States are not even delivering the pesticide use statistics despite this should have done for years, making the idea of a ‘result-based EU policy’ impossible.

François Veillerette, PAN Europe’s president, says: 'Recently, 1,3 million European citizens signed a European Citizens Initiative calling for a ban on glyphosate and for a serious reduction in EU’s pesticide dependency. Only two days ago, glyphosate was reauthorized for another five years, despite more and more actors are recognizing the need for change, but always calling for funding to be available, so we call on the European Commission to make sure that the EUs legislative proposals answer specific questions on how to ensure uptake of alternatives allowing the transition to low impact farming to happen’.

 

ENDS

Footnotes:

Page 4 (first paragraph): 'The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should therefore lead a transition towards a more sustainable agriculture.'
Page 19 (first paragraph):

-'It should be explored how an obligatory EU wide requirement to have a nutrient management plan and incentive for precision agriculture, forming part of any Member State CAP strategic plan, could improve results'.

-' 'The current green architecture of the CAP, that primarily relies on the complementary implementation of three distinct policy instruments - cross compliance, green direct payments and voluntary agri-environmental and climate measures will be replaced and all operations integrated into a more targeted, more ambitious yet flexible approach.’

-‘Member States will need to define quantified targets which will ensure that the agreed environmental and climate objectives defined at EU level are achieved. Member States will have the flexibility to formulate strategic plans allowing for addressing climate and environmental needs at local level.

Contact:  
Henriette Christensen, Senior Policy Advisor, PAN Europe, Henriette [at] pan-europe.info,Tel: +32 2 318 62 55

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PAN Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, Life+ programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.