Brussels sets out recommendations for sustainable farming

The EU Commission published recommendations Friday for each EU Member State to assist in the drafting of their Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plans, accompanied by a Communication.

The recommendations form part of a dialogue between Commission and Member States to help them implement the CAP as of 2023 as well as to ensure that their CAP strategic plans are sustainable and contribute to the 'European Green Deal'.

Seen as a key element of CAP reform, the strategic plans will establish how each Member State will use the CAP instruments based on an analysis of their conditions and needs, and with the aim to achieve the specific objectives of the CAP as well as the Green Deal targets.

"The recommendations to Member States are a crucial step in the transition towards increasing the sustainability and resilience of our agricultural sector," said Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski: "I strongly encourage Member States to take these recommendations on board while drafting their CAP strategic plans. By doing this, we can ensure a CAP that is aligned with the Green Deal and that supports farmers as drivers of the green transition."

The Commission provides recommendations for each Member State based on an analysis of their agricultural sector and rural areas. These recommendations are linked to the nine CAP specific objectives that touch upon environmental, social and economic challenges and to a crosscutting objective on knowledge and innovation.

In addition, the recommendations take on board the European Green Deal ambitions and more specifically six quantified Farm to fork and Biodiversity targets. They aim to show the direction that the CAP strategic plans need to take to fulfil these objectives and targets by identifying key issues that need to be tackled by Member States and how to address them. To do this, the recommendations also provide a state of play in terms of Green Deal objectives. For example, the attached map shows the emissions from livestock per hectare for each Member State.

Also, to achieve the 25% organic farming target, the Commission has recommended to a large majority of Member states to develop the necessary food supply chain structures, identify the local potential of organic production, promote the consumption of organic products and ensure support for conversion to and maintenance of organic farming through rural development.

In addition, regarding the CAP objectives related to increasing competitiveness and attracting young farmers, the Commission recommends to multiple Member states to facilitate access to finance, for example by making greater use of financial instruments available under the rural development framework.

Another example is the reduction of the use and risk of pesticides. The Commission recommends Member States promote the sustainable use of pesticides by ensuring the uptake of integrated pest management They focus on the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to the agro-ecosystem and encourages natural pest control methods. Finally, the recommendations also point to the need to increase the value of agricultural products at primary producer level, through geographical indications or local and regional supply chains.

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