Post-2020 CAP, smoke gray. An organic revolution is needed

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The post-2020 CAP-that is, the Common Agricultural Policy, through 2027-is confirmed to be smoke gray. Up in smoke go the ‘aspirational’ commitments of the European Green Deal , such as those of the EU Farm to Fork Strategies and
Biodiversity
. Gray continues to cloud an aid system that rewards agrotoxics and poisons the future, as well as the consciences of those who cause it.

Citizens vote ‘organic,’ with their wallets at least. They shun pesticides and fear them, to the point that they often fall for false proclamations of ‘integrated pest management’ or no residues. But politics betray them, once again. To follow up only the interests of the big lobbies, Big Ag and Big 4.

We need an organic revolution, starting with our daily purchasing choices, to turn the tide.

Post-2020 CAP, reform in place

The European Parliament voted on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, in plenary session, on 20.10.20, And the agriculture ministers of the member states, meeting in the Council, turned the key that same night, before waiting for the reaction of citizens. The cards now go back to the Commission and House representatives to finalize an agreement as a result of the so-called trilogue procedure (Parliament, Commission, Council).

The ‘new’ Common Agricultural Policy-which the Renatian Ministry of Agriculture celebrates for‘ambitious provisions aimed at aligning European agricultural policy with the challenge of climate change and sustainability‘-will come into force on 1.1.23. After two years of transition, until 2027.

Europarliament, smoke gray

The Assembly of the Europarliament voted smoke gray. Deleting measures essential to preserving the environment and biodiversity. They thus disappeared:

– Incentives for agricultural practices aimed at fostering biodiversity. Instead, economic criteria took precedence over environmental criteria for the purpose of accessing funds,

– The reservation of 10 percent of agricultural land for biodiversity areas (hedgerows and small wetlands),

– increased funding for environmental measures, which had been proposed by the referent committee (ENVI, Environment, Food Safety and Public Health) of the same Parliament.

Inequality and ecocide

MEPs have confirmed their blind allegiance to the giants that drive industrial agriculture and agricultural policies on the Old (as well as the New) continent. Confirmed services to old lobbies. To the point of approval:

– subsidies to turn valuable wetlands for wildlife in Natura 2000 network sites (protected areas) into agricultural fields,

– Concentration of public resources on intensive agriculture. At least 60 percent of the budget is allocated to large farms. With a minimal share, estimated at about 6 percent, going to small and medium-sized companies. With no reservation for microenterprises that guard territories and landscapes with peasant ecoagriculture,

– Retention of all subsidies to intensive livestock farms, without introducing any conditions for reducing greenhouse gases (as demanded by FAO) and improving animal welfare.

Spots of green

Patches of green-in a CAP that absorbs 32 percent of the entire EU budget-are only glimpsed in a forecast that is itself contradictory.

‘A minimum percentage of 30 percent of Pillar II (Rural Development) expenditures should be allocated to agri-environmental measures, and at least 20 percent of Pillar I (direct payments) resources should be allocated to ecological schemes, i.e., measures such as orchard grassing, pesticide and fertilizer reduction, organic farming methods, and additional environmentally beneficial farming practices.’

In a nutshell, with the Council’s key squeeze, 20 percent of direct aid (not even 30 percent, as MEPs had voted) will have to come dedicated to incentives for a summation of agronomic practices. Practices that include but are not limited, it should be noted, to organic farming. Indeed, it will suffice to weed orchards or reduce the use of agrotoxics to take resources away from operators committed to agroecology. And this is the only practice that could have saved Europe, as indicated in a recent study by IDDRI(Institut pour le Développement Durable et les Relations Internationales).

Disappointment

‘We are very disappointed with the result of yesterday’s voting (on 10/20/20, ed.). But above all, we remain surprised by the intent of some political groups and agriculture ministers to pass this vote off in the eyes of the press and the public as a #green turn of the CAP, when in fact it absolutely is not.

This is terribly discouraging. Behind their glossy words, MEPs and agriculture ministers from the 27 EU countries are confirming a CAP that will continue to waste taxpayers’ money to support poisoned, polluting and industrialized agriculture, at least until 2027, in blatant contrast to the scientific world’s warnings about the loss of #biodiversity and rising greenhouse gas emissions’. (Coalition #ChangeAgriculture, press release 21.10.20)

Organic revolution

The #revolutionbio is the most effective tool available to us all today. The #votocolportfolio has shown tremendous effectiveness in getting the most responsible companies-in industry and large-scale retail (GDO)-to remove palm oil from most food products on the shelf.

The time has come for drastic changes in demand to force supply to adapt. We want organic products from short supply chain, we favor direct and solidarity relationship with small farmers who respect nature and workers’ rights.

The idea of #saturdaysforfuture can be the starting point. Let us all commit, starting on the Saturday of each month, to buy only organic food, within the limits of availability. Keeping note of prices, to intercept possible speculation.

The Bio 2030 Manifesto can come to fruition, starting in Italy, precisely because consumAtors are the independent lever of the market that their cohesive choices must still conform to, regardless of lobbies and their minions.

Dario Dongo

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.