While the proposal does enhance permanent pasture, green cover, crop rotation and ecological set-aside to become mandatory “greening” component of direct payments, the real potential of such an approach is not truly highlighted.
EU citizens believes that environmental protection needs to be an element of the Common Agricultural Policy (Special Eurobarometer 336, March 2010). Also, EU citizens continue to consider pesticides residue levels in fruit, vegetables and cereals as their main concern regarding food related risks (special Eurobarometer 354, November 2010).
As a result the only sustainable agricultural policy option to be considered is supporting farmers technically, morally and financially for delivery of public goods such as:
- permanent coverage, green manure, minimum or no tillage, crop rotation, to preserve soil and soil fertility;
- mineral input reduction, biobeds, covercrops to protect water; and
- crop rotation, hedges, intercropping, mixed cropping, maximum field size, use of biological control agents to protect biodiversity.
As from 2014 it will, according to Directive 128/2009 on sustainable use of pesticides be mandatory from all EU farmers to apply integrated pest management. For us this mean that each EU farmer needs to take a ‘system approach’ to farming, starting with delivery of a (certified) plan to drastically change methods and deliver practices choose prevention (rotation with nitrogen-fixing crops) and choose of resistant crop varieties and use of biological control. The majority of organic farmers are already taken an systematic approach to farming – so why not let organic farmers lead the way for conventional farmers?
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For further information please contact:
henriette [at] pan-europe.info, Policy Adviser, Pesticide Action Network Europe
Tel+ 32 2 503 08 37 2