The new agricultural agenda represents a squandered chance. According to Joey Hodde, all green efforts have been expertly nipped in the bud thanks to a strong lobby.
The Popular Agricultural Policy (CAP) governs how agricultural subsidies are administered within the EU. This is no small matter, as agriculture receives approximately 60 billion euros per year, representing about a third of the total EU budget. Instead of spending the money in a manner that assists producers in making the transition to a better food system, it will be poured into a system that we all know is unsustainable for the next seven years.
The CAP, on the other hand, is something to be very proud of. With the horrors of the starvation winter in mind, this program was developed in 1962 with the goal of assisting farmers, increasing production, ensuring living wages, and preserving the countryside. As a result, Europe has not endured famine since the Second World War. You’d almost be singing the European national anthem.
Quarter of all greenhouse gases
We can produce more food and set an example for the rest of the world. However, there is a drawback to these advances. Our current food system may be expelling more food than ever before, but it is also depleting the soils, destroying the last bits of nature and biodiversity, and is responsible for about a quarter of all greenhouse gases. If we want to achieve the climate goals and stay below that dangerous limit of one and a half degrees of warming, the agricultural sector must play an important role in this.
Agricultural companies have been incentivized for years by banks and governments to grow as fast as possible and to blast productivity per square meter through the roof at all costs. Subsidies are now distributed on the basis of productivity, which has forced farmers to scale up, expand, and spray the fields with fertilizers and pesticides. The farmers cannot be blamed for that, but we must learn from this for the future.
In other countries, they have a rich tradition of structuring our agricultural policy almost entirely on the basis of crisis management. For years, the VVD and the CDA, for example, did not want to face the nitrogen problem, and when a critical limit was reached, the farmers were the victims. If we had developed a plan for the future together with the farmers 10 years ago and had released some pots, we could have prevented the crisis completely.
Nipped in the bud
The same thing threatens to happen with the CAP. Powerful interest groups for industrial agriculture, fertilizer and poison producers, in collaboration with the conservative Christian Democrats, have skilfully nipped all measures for sustainability in the bud. With natural carbon storage in the soil, non-toxic agriculture and biodiverse field margins, farmers can be an important partner in the fight against climate change and loss of biodiversity. Instead of using that power, the CAP simply continues the disastrous line of the past decades.
If we use all the roots to maintain the old systems, there will soon be only sticks left to achieve the climate goals. Some think that is not only stupid, but also a middle finger to the farmers. Let us make farmers allies in the battle against climate change by providing a CAP and ‘ecommerce web design services’ to assist them in taking the following actions.