EU greenlights first round of sustainable agriculture plan

France is one of seven countries to receive a share of the €270 billion EU package designed to boost and protect the European agricultural sector, with a strong focus on sustainable agriculture.

The summer of 2022 was a difficult time for farmers. Droughts, heat waves, floods and other natural disasters with water rations have ushered in the growing season, increasing the need to grow crops that are more resilient and less water intensive.

The European Union has moved quickly to pave the way forward through the approval of its first Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan covering seven countries: Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain. I worked on it. Implemented in 2023.

This reformed policy will ensure a more equitable distribution of funds to small and medium-sized family farms and young farmers. These beneficiaries will be encouraged and supported to use modern agricultural methods such as precision farming, growing drought-tolerant crops and adopting agro-ecological production techniques.

Through the CAP, the EU hopes to improve food security, encourage producers to use efficient and effective working methods, and contribute to EU climate and environmental goals, including animal welfare.

The plan will combine funds for income support, rural development and market measures.

“We are one step closer to implementing the new CAP over the next five years,” said Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski. “This step comes at a critical time when the importance of providing strong support to our agricultural sector has become very clear. We are facing a challenging environment characterized by sharp increases in production costs due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Agriculture is a long-term business and European farmers need to have a clear legal and financial framework for the future. The new CAP will be smart, competitive, resilient and diversified. By fostering a sustainable agricultural sector, it helps support stable agricultural livelihoods and long-term food security. We will continue to provide guidance on how to take advantage of it.”

Further support for sustainable agriculture

The funding for the period 2023-2027 has been set at €270 billion, with €120 billion allocated to the seven provinces whose plans have just been approved, fully devoted to environmental and climate objectives and eco-plans. including more than €34 billion in Projects that fall into this category include promoting beneficial soil practices or improving water management and grassland quality. CAP can also facilitate forest planting, fire protection, restoration and adaptation.

Farmers participating in eco-plans are rewarded by, among other things, banning or limiting the use of pesticides and limiting soil erosion. Between 86% and 97% of the country’s utilized agricultural area is farmed under good agricultural and environmental conditions. A large amount of money also supports the development of organic production, with most countries aiming to double or triple her agricultural area. Areas under natural constraints such as mountains and coasts will continue to benefit from specific funding to sustain agricultural activities.

The plan also encourages reducing reliance on chemical fertilizers and increasing renewable energy production without reducing food production.

Furthermore, it targets young people to make agriculture an attractive career choice.

With the first seven plans approved, the EC is moving forward to gain expedited approval of plans for the remaining 21 bloc countries.

photo courtesy Raphael Rychetsky on Unsplash EU greenlights first round of sustainable agriculture plan

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