12 European associations in the agri-food sector wrote to the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission to carry out a comprehensive ex-ante impact assessment of the cumulative impacts of the various targets for EU agriculture set out in the Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity strategies before taking any political or regulatory decision

Brussels 13th October 2020 

Dear Commissioner,

We are writing to you on behalf of the 22 million European farmers and their families and 22,000 agri-cooperatives and on the upstream and downstream agri-food chain operators that carry out their activities to provide 446 million EU citizens with sufficient, safe, nutritious, high-quality and affordable food every day.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to maintain supply, thus ensuring food security for our fellow citizens. However, we are facing difficult market situations and financial pressure arising from the COVID-19 pandemic across the EU. These are causing rapid and negative knock-on effects on many agricultural and food sectors, both, in the medium and long term. Furthermore, this mounting crisis potentially puts both the single market and international markets at stake, threatening supply chains, jobs and ultimately EU food security.

We fully support a transition to more sustainable production and consumption. In this context, we welcome the publication of the Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity Strategies and we support the overall ambition of the European Green Deal and Paris climate agreement.

European agri-food chain operators are already working together to encourage the development and implementation of “win-win” more sustainable agricultural and food production practices. To meet the EU sustainability ambitions (economically, environmentally and socially), the agri-food sector needs to work in a consistent and coherent policy environment. This requires fact and science-based, holistic and predictable policy that balance out trade-offs while leaving no one behind in the food supply chain, especially when considering the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To this purpose, we urge the European Commission to carry out a comprehensive ex-ante impact assessment of the cumulative impacts of the various targets for EU agriculture set out in the Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity Strategies before taking any political or regulatory decision. This impact assessment should consider costs and benefit for the environment, public health, the impact on EU food security and food safety as well as available resources and possible innovative alternatives. This is particularly relevant for the reduction on the use of inputs such as plant protection products, fertilisers or antibiotics and restrictions on the use of land and forests arising from actions linked to the nature protection and restoration and the improvement of animal welfare. These targets should not only be coherent and consistent across the European Green Deal initiatives, but also realistic and achievable. They should be based on the latest economic, scientific and technological developments, to enable the agri-food chain to deliver on a long-term basis food security whilst ensuring farming income, generational renewal and competitiveness to the sector and preserving ecosystems.

As shown by research, in the absence of viable alternatives, such targets could have significant economic, social and environmental impacts on the quantity, quality, safety and affordability of EU agricultural and food products. At the same time, climate change, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, water pollution and other environmental challenges we face today also threaten food security and safety.[1]

A structured dialogue between the European Commission, Member States and agri-food chain actors is also needed to identify and address cross-cutting challenges, trade-offs and viable managerial and technological alternatives.

We remain at your disposal to provide you and your services with any additional information on the concerns that we have and to collaborate further in the implementation of the Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity Strategies.

Yours faithfully,

The Presidents of 

Copa, Cogeca, CEJA, FEFAC, ECPA, AnimalhealthEurope, EFFAB, FEFANA, CEMA, Euroseeds, Fertilizers Europe, CELCAA



[1] Non exhaustive list.