A letter signed by 89 European associations to the Commission: European Green Deal needs to cut pesticides and switch to agroecology (IT)

31/03/2020
News

A letter signed by 89 European associations to the Commission: European Green Deal needs to cut pesticides and switch to agroecology.

“We are writing to you as supporters of the European Citizens Initiative Save Bees and Farmers   which has been already supported by over a quarter of a million EU citizens.

The significant decline of bees and pollinators in Europe and worldwide, together with the wider collapse of biodiversity we are currently witnessing has rightly raised alarm in the scientific community and general public. Experts have declared that “business as usual” cannot remain an option.It is now finally widely accepted that our food production model is a major driver of this ecology collapse, largely because of the massive use of synthetic pesticides it relies upon.

Furthermore, synthetic pesticides have important consequences on human health, linked to llness among rural communities as well as among consumers via pesticide residues that are present in food, as well as pesticide drift in the air and runoff in soil and groundwater. Among others, exposure to pesticides is linked to cancer, Parkinson's disease, and reproductive impairments.

A third major consequence of industrial agriculture is the sharp decline in social and economic diversity amongst farmers and rural communities. Over the past 10 years, a farm has disappeared in the EU on average every 3 minutes. This is leading to depleted rural areas and a huge loss of resilience, valuable knowledge and traditions.

The European Union has supported these phenomena with public money for decades through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as well as with regulations, trade agreements and a research policy favoring industrial agriculture and food production. Our coalition now asks for the European Commission and the Member States to make a fundamental change in how the aforementioned instruments are used.

These issues are at the core of why the European Commission is developing the Farm to Fork and accompanying Biodiversity Strategies. Indeed, a way out exists to transform our model of chemical-intensive agriculture to a model that is more knowledge-intensive and that is based on working with nature rather than against it: this alternative has been developed by organic agriculture as well as many other farmers, based on agroecological principles.

Scientific research shows that feeding the EU and the world based on synthetic pesticide-free agriculture is possible, it is a political choice as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides already exist. Furthermore, field evidence shows that implementing agroecology allows farmers to increase their profits. We are therefore calling on you to ensure the demands of Save Bees and Farmers are embedded in these forthcoming strategies.
In particular, they must without compromise:

  • start the phase-out of synthetic pesticides from EU agriculture, by setting a target to cut use by 80% by 2030 and a phase out by 2035.
  • set ambitious targets to restore biodiversity, especially in agricultural areas. Agriculture and biodiversity are not mutually exclusive, but must benefit each other.
  • support farmers in the transition towards a nature-friendly agriculture. CAP reform proposals must be strongly upgraded to support farmers financially and technically by prioritizing small scale, diverse and sustainable farming based on agroecology.

We look forward to the publication of ambitious and credible Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies that are fit for purpose, lead us away from the catastrophe we are facing, and meet the expectations of citizens and farmers. Time is running out for both nature and small-scale farming and we call on these to be central to your efforts”.

Source: IFOAM EU