FoodDrinkEurope calls on EU to invest in “largely ignored” agri-food sector
22 Mar 2023 --- As EU leaders meet to discuss the ongoing challenges of climate change, the invasion of Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis and various other disruptions faced by the industry, FoodDrinkEurope has written to EU president Von der Leyen to urge the establishment of an EU Food Investment and Resilience Plan.
Driving this call to action is FoodDrinkEurope’s concern that “the agri-food sector has been largely ignored in the EU’s latest plans,” noting that current initiatives to combat ongoing crises, such as the Green Deal Industrial Plan, omit the F&B sector.
“If the US is supporting its agri-food sector by investing US$20 billion in climate-smart regenerative agriculture through its Inflation Reduction Act, on top of the US Farm Bill, the EU must follow suit if it’s serious about its net zero ambitions, says FoodDrinkEurope's director general, Dirk Jacobs.
“Besides new investment, we also need to look at easier access to technology and innovation, new trade opportunities and making EU food regulations less complex and more coherent to facilitate a competitive, sustainable transition.”
Jacobs calls on the EU to bolster the agri-food sector as part of ongoing initiatives.
“We cannot afford to let the food sector wither on the vine,” he says.
“It’s time for the EU to take bold action and invest in the future of Europe’s food before it’s too late. Let’s ensure that Europe’s agri-food sector remains a global leader.”
The letter further notes that the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy is at risk of “becoming an empty vessel” and that “the food sector will be the primary casualty” if the EU does not offer it further support.
EU support frameworks
A report last year outlining areas for improving the Farm to Fork Strategy was initially celebrated by FoodDrinkEurope.
However, it noted at the time that the improvements came at the cost of inevitable trade-offs, significantly increased regulatory requirements that pose extra burdens on producers, such as setting maximum limits on nutrient levels.
Similarly, FoodDrinkEurope, alongside other industry bodies, criticized proposals by the European Commission to decarbonize the agri-food production systems, noting that such proposals do not go far enough to meet net-zero carbon targets.
By James Davies
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