European Innovation Partnership 'Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability': Where is the green spirit

Brussels

Yesterday European Commission published a roadmap for European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) on agricultural productivity and sustainability under the slogan 'achieving more from less'. From the outset the slogan seems badly chosen as it calls for further intensification of European agriculture. PAN Europe warns that this approach risks to be another step in the dead-end road to external input dependency and as a result unable to ensure long term food security
 
This Commission initiative is part of the 2020 Strategy and should be a new way to foster innovation by uniting researchers, stakeholders, Member States and policy-makers around a common societal challenge (1).

PAN Europe welcomes the idea of bringing partners together to bridge the existing gap between research and practice. Though, we fear that such an approach will be biased, and that it will mean wasting more time talking rather than acting.

Instead we believe that it is time to go from words to actions, and encourage the European Commission to seriously takes the lead and inspire member states to implement the EU Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides, obliging EU farmers to apply Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as from 2014, with article 14 of this directive saying ”professional users of pesticides switch to practices and products with the lowest risk to human health and the environment among those available for the same pest problem, and stresses that ”Member states shall take all necessary measures to promote low pesticide-input pest management and organic farming, giving wherever possible priority to non-chemical methods”.

The slogan ‘achieving more from less’ is ambiguous. If the slogan means exclusively adoption of new technology and intensification, it is a bad approach. If instead the slogan means more fields with less inputs and more planning, more monitoring, more crop rotation and as a result diversification, more knowledge, etc then it is a good approach.
To overcome this ambiguousity, we propose to change the slogan to ‘better/different inputs’. Such and approach is not only the way forward to ensure reduction in external input dependency, it can even save farmers money and will at the same time be the only way to ensure long-term food security.

-- ENDS --

Background notes:

  1. http://ec.europa.eu/governance/impact/planned_ia/docs/2011_agri_042_euro...

Background information on the proven benefits of delivering sustainable agricultural practices, see :

  1. Agriculture
  2. The Truth behind the CAP: 13 reasons for greening the CAP” published in June 2011

For further information please contact:

Henriette Christensen, henriette [at] pan-europe.info, tel. + 32 473375671

© PAN Europe, Rue de la Pacification 67, 1000, Brussels, Belgium, Tel. +32 2 318 62 55

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.