The world’s population is projected to be 9 billion by 2030, and the industrial giants of our food system would have us believe that ever more pesticides, fertilisers and GM crops will be needed to feed everyone. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, these toxic products not only pollute our water and air and exhaust our soils and threaten farmers’ health, they also destroy the very natural resources farmers need to produce safe, healthy, and nutritious food today – and for future generations
Indeed, Europe’s precious natural resources are under serious threat and industrial farming is the main driver of this habitat destruction and nature loss. Intensive farm practices such as over reliance on pesticides are polluting waterways and eroding soil. Overproduction of food, in particular meat, is contributing to climate change and harming public health through air pollution. Nearly 50% of grain produced globally is fed to livestock, while a third of all food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted. Only big agri-business profits from further ramping up production.
It is the whole food system that is broken and the biggest driver behind it is the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). The CAP, in a nutshell, is a big pot money (roughly 38% of the EU budget) and it is making our socio-economic, health and environmental problems worse by fostering unsustainable practices through untargeted annual payments to farmers.
While this policy was recently reformed in 2013 so that it would be greener, this so-called reform is only a reform on paper and has not materialised in our fields.
The EEB therefore campaigns for a radical reform of the CAP and related policies that would help farmers reduce their reliance on dangerous pesticides and sustain their yields over time through ecological farm practices which support nature to offer people a sustainable and healthy food and farming system.
We call for the complete abolition of harmful subsidies and work to encourage politicians to support farmers to be more environmentally-friendly by demonstrating that it is possible to feed the world through sustainable agricultural practices that do not damage nature and human health.
With this in mind, the EEB is EU leaders to initiate an ambitious overhaul of EU farm policy to stop rewarding the biggest farms which pollute the most and start supporting farmers only for protecting Europe’s wildlife and the natural resources on which food production depends so heavily, namely soil and water. For the time being citizens are asked to pay three times: for food, CAP subsidies and to repair the damages done to the environment, this can no longer be the case.
In early 2017, the EEB, alongside BirdLife Europe and WWF, launched the Living Land campaign. As part of the campaign, 258,708 citizens agreed with us that Europe’s food and farming system is broken and made their voice heard by taking part in the European Commission’s public consultation on the future of the CAP.
of habitat types are in unfavourable conservation status
of protected species are in unfavourable conservation status