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Will MEPs bolster the Farm to Fork Strategy?

The European Parliament is voting on its reaction to the EU Farm to Fork Strategy.

Updated on 10 September 2021

What is happening?

On 9 and 10 September, the European Parliament’s Agriculture (AGRI) and Environment (ENVI) committees voted on their joint own-initiative report on the Farm to Fork Strategy, which sets out how the EU aims to make the food system “fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly”.

Reacting to the votes, in which MEPs overwhelmingly approved the report, Jabier Ruiz, Senior Policy Officer for Food and Agriculture at WWF’s European Policy Office, said:  "Today’s Farm to Fork Strategy vote in the Parliament sends a strong positive signal to the Commission: 'You have our backing to be bold and make EU policies truly help in the transition to sustainable food systems'. The remarkably large support secured in the joint Agriculture and Environment committee vote today suggests that the report will likely receive a full endorsement by the Parliament plenary vote next month."

The report will now be voted on in the plenary scheduled for early October. 

Why does it matter?

The scientific evidence shows that the EU food system is currently not sustainable, and that major changes are needed in how we produce, trade and consume food if we are to respect our international commitments and planetary boundaries.

The Farm to Fork Strategy, presented by the European Commission in 2020 as a central element of the European Green Deal, is a potential game-changer in this area. This is because it breaks through silos and brings together multiple policy initiatives that aim to make the food system more sustainable.

Nevertheless, agricultural stakeholders and farm ministers have given the Farm to Fork Strategy a lukewarm reception. This is because they support the continued use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics in EU farming – despite the environmental harm they do – and the Strategy calls the widespread use of these agrochemicals into question. Now, it’s over to the European Parliament to establish its position on the Strategy, which will send a strong political signal to the European Commission. This is especially timely with the UN Food Systems Summit taking place in two weeks time and the second edition of the Farm to Fork Conference in October. 

“MEPs cannot miss this golden opportunity to bolster the Farm to Fork Strategy and make it central to delivering the EU’s climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals for 2030,” said Jabier Ruiz. “The Strategy has a lot of potential to make our food systems more sustainable, if implemented at the scale needed. The Parliament can now give an essential impetus for this to happen.”

What will WWF be looking for?

Overall, the European Parliament report must endorse the ambition of the Farm to Fork Strategy and call on the European Commission to fully develop and extend the policy initiatives covered under the strategy. More specifically, WWF considers it particularly important that MEPs support compromise amendments asking to:
  • Base the future EU law on sustainable food systems on the latest scientific knowledge and involve stakeholders from a broad variety of perspectives to ensure a legitimate and inclusive process.
  • Introduce robust seafood traceability mechanisms that provide accurate information on where, when, how and which fish has been caught or farmed for all seafood products regardless of whether it is EU-caught or imported, fresh or processed.
  • Acknowledge that a population-wide shift in consumption patterns is needed, including addressing the overconsumption of meat and ultra-processed products, and present a protein transition strategy covering both the demand and the supply side to lower environmental and climate impacts.
  • Encourage action to curb food waste occurring at the primary production level and early stages of the supply chain, including unharvested food, and set binding targets for food waste reduction at every stage of the supply chain.
  • Introduce mandatory due diligence for supply chains to ensure EU imports are free of not only deforestation but also of any type of ecosystem conversion and degradation – and do not lead to any adverse impacts on human rights.

Also this week

After the vote on Thursday, AGRI MEPs will also rubber-stamp the political agreement on the Common Agricultural Policy, reached in June. This is a standard procedure in EU policy-making and no surprises are expected.

For more information:

Jabier Ruiz
Senior Policy Officer, Agriculture & Food Systems
WWF European Policy Office

Bartosz Brzezinski
Communications Officer
WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 484 28 15 10
The Farm to Fork Strategy sets out how the EU aims to make the food system “fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly”.