Europe's commitment to food sustainability

Europe's commitment to food sustainability

January 21, 2021

Europe's commitment to food sustainability

The new European agri-food strategies aim to transform the current agricultural scenario and improve it to ensure healthy food for all and a safe production environment for farmers

"European food systems are among the most efficient globally, years of effort and commitment have led to tangible results, but now we need a broader vision to respond to citizens' expectations and also to address the challenges posed by our own ambition for climate neutrality." These were the opening words of the speech given by Janusz Wojciechowski, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, attending the  “Resetting the Food System from Farm to Fork - Setting the Stage for UN 2021 FOOD Systems Summit” International Forum organized by the Barilla Foundation with Food Tank.

The European Commissioner spoke specifically about the From Farm to Fork strategy, emphasizing its importance in the context of the actions which the European Union has begun to implement to change the agri-food system and make it more resilient and sustainable. 

Food production is and will always be a strategic priority and the pandemic confirms how important it is to ensure that our citizens have access to safe and affordable food at all times, with no interruption,” added Wojciechowski.

A cornerstone of the European Green Deal

The European Green Deal is defined by EU experts as a roadmap to make the Union economy sustainable and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. As Commissioner Wojciechowski pointed out, the From Farm to Fork strategy plays a leading role in this context: “We aim to achieve a new and better balance between nature, food systems and biodiversity in order to protect people's health and well-being, while at the same strengthening the competitiveness and resilience of the EU,” he explained, highlighting that halving the use of pesticides by 2030, reducing nutrient losses without compromising soil fertility and increasing organic farming are some of the main goals identified in the From Farm to Fork strategy. 

"Farmers themselves will take center stage in this transition. It is crucial to ensure that farms do not disappear and that farmers continue to maintain an adequate standard of living, considering that a socially just transition is possible and could also provide new opportunities for work, investment and income in rural areas. Once all the elements are in place, European food production will continue to be a virtuous example of sustainability and ensure the success of European farmers,” he said. 

Healthy diets and a joint commitment

The strategy recognizes that the transition to a more sustainable food system can only be achieved with a shift towards healthier and more sustainable diets,” said Wojciechowski. Therefore, it is also essential to implement actions that provide citizens with better information and encourage industry to increase the availability of nutritious and sustainable food.

We look at the food system in a holistic manner, bringing all the actors together to deliver on our transformation ambitions,” added the European Commissioner. This positive agenda defined by Europe aims to support and guide farmers, but also consumers, food processors and retailers towards a more resilient and sustainable food ecosystem. 

There is no single miracle solution to improving sustainability: action is needed throughout the food system, including investments in research and innovation, digitalization and new technologies and the Common Agricultural Policy

I hope on the occasion of the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit in 2021 we will start a global discussion on promoting a global transition to sustainable food systems through partnerships and green alliances. As the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, I expect an ambitious outcome for the summit, as it creates a unique momentum for action and commitment at international level,” said Wojciechowski in closing his speech.

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