Seeding tomorrow: an outlook on the past and future of the EU Farm to Fork strategy

April 10, 2024

European seed sector

In 2019, the European Commission launched the EU Green Deal, aiming to address global environmental challenges and enhance Europe’s competitiveness. However, the plan has been facing hurdles in meeting evolving citizen expectations, particularly in the agri-food sector. While it has prompted various initiatives impacting daily life, challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions have led to adjustments in its implementation

In this context, Euroseeds joined a roundtable to evaluate the successes and shortcomings of the EU Green Deal within the agri-food sector. The panel, where 14 speakers engaged in lively discussions, delved into crucial matters with regard to the competitiveness, resilience, sustainability, risk of food insecurity of the sector.

Held in the heart of Brussels, the “Farm2Fork:Farm2Fork: Assessing Progress and Envisioning Tomorrow” event was organised by the policy institute Competere, specialised in public policy on sustainability, in collaboration with the Italian MEP Salvatore De Meo (EPP) at the European Parliament, highlighted that agriculture and food sectors must return to the centre of the European political agenda in a realistically and free from ideological bias.

Competere’s President Paganini held a speech about the marginalisation of agriculture and the food industry on the European political agenda, while MEP De Meo highlighted the inflexibility and a lack of scientific pragmatism of the current European environmental policies. Following that, Euroseeds Secretary General Garlich von Essen pointed out that the agri-food sector needs access to innovations and technologies which can boost the agricultural production and ensure high-quality seeds for farmers:

Plant breeding has a proven record of contributions to increased EU agriculture production, competitiveness and sustainability. This is even more relevant in the current situation, full of uncertainties for EU farmers and the future of EU agriculture. In order to keep contributing to these goals, we need an EU enabling regulatory framework that allow innovations in seed and plant breeding to materialise for the EU agriculture.

The European agri-food industry actors conveyed a clear message and demanded concrete commitments from future EU representatives, summarized in seven points:

  • Prioritize agriculture and food on the EU political agenda;
  • Develop policies supporting resilient global supply chains and European citizens’ welfare;
  • Ensure balanced food policies integrating health, environment, and economy;
  • Promote innovation and investment in the agri-food sector;
  • Revitalize rural areas and improve credit access through active investment policies, replacing subsidies;
  • Strengthen the European agri-food sector internationally via product protection and trade partnerships;
  • Educate consumers on balanced diets and support for local products.