Slow Food’s Position on the Common Agricultural Policy in Europe

Slow Food’s recommendations are based on a survey involving 10,000 small-scale farmers and producers in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and Sweden.

Slow Food wants to have a say in the process leading up to the final proposal for Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): Today Slow Food has launched its concrete recommendations in a conference called “Toward a Common Food Policy: Slow Food’s Commitment to Advocating for Agroecological Farmers and Food Artisans” at Terra Madre Nordic, an event taking place this weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark, that gathers more than 200 small-scale producers and farmers from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Åland, and Sápmi.

The recommendations are based on the results of a survey that Slow Food conducted between July 24 and November 21, 2017, in which 10,000 small-scale farmers and producers were interviewed about what policy measures would most support or hinder their work.

Moving forward, Slow Food will organize important awareness-raising activities involving national networks in a series of events in Europe that will lead to the publication of the full legislative proposal on the CAP expected on May 29, 2018, from the European Commission.

Slow Food’s contribution to the debate on the future of food and farming tackles different aspects of the agroecological farming systems that can be summed up in 10 final recommendations.

 

  • Bureaucratic load: Most of the producers asked for less red tape. This does not mean that they want fewer rules and controls, but that they want the rules and controls be commensurate with the size and the reality of their Respondents from all of the surveyed countries underlined the lack of expertise in the government offices dealing with agricultural matters, and in the professional associations through which the respondents usually apply for funds.
  • Innovation & research, training, and technical support should respect food sovereignty and local knowledge and should foster the potential of producers and not make them dependent on external inputs controlled by a few multinationals.
  • Support young people: In order for young people to want to join the agricultural sector, they must know that they will make enough income to have security in planning their futures.
  • Support marginal areas: Effective infrastructure recovery and development plans in rural and deprived areas must be implemented, as must effective strategies to counter rural exodus.
  • Public money serves public good: Only diversified agroecological farming systems should receive financial support.
  • Review quality schemes and hygiene rules: The definition of quality should be reviewed to include rigorous criteria for sustainability, and specific training for inspectors on the traditional production of artisanal foods should be introduced.
  • Build more sustainable and fair food supply chains as a tool to fight the exploitation of the labor force and to give all producers fair bargaining power. In addition, raise awareness among consumers and through educational activities.
  • Fair land management: New mechanisms must be developed to guarantee farmers access to land and legal protection.
  • Policy coherence and consistency: The lack of integration and coherence between the CAP and other food-related policies needs to be tackled more effectively and efficiently.
  • Clearer objectives: The delivery model must guarantee democratic access to the support measures for small-scale agroecological farmers and the younger generations, who will need to be involved in the formulation of impact indicators.

 

Finally, the narrative must be changed from food security to food sufficiency. The goal is no longer to feed the world, since today one third of the food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. The new challenge is to guarantee fair access to resources (land, seeds, water) and fair access to food.

 

Background

In 2017, the European Commission started a consultation process on the future of the CAP to better understand where the current policy can be simplified and modernized. Slow Food welcomed the consultation as a tool for dialogue, but regrets that the questionnaire was biased and often included questions demanding a trade-off between essential elements. For this reason, Slow Food decided to commission its own online survey (through Kantar Public) for small-scale farmers and food artisans. The target group consisted of more than 10,000 farmers and artisan producers from the Slow Food network and partner organizations’ and associations’ networks*.

Since 2012, Slow Food has been calling on the European Union to move from a Common Agriculture Policy to a Common Food Policy that integrates the distinct policy processes affecting food systems and aims to achieve the objective of creating sustainable food systems. Over the last few years, multiple actors (members of civil society, policy makers, researchers, etc.) have come together with the goal of integrating policy processes and developing coherent food policies. These diverse initiatives need a common framework at the EU level, while existing EU policy tools need to be realigned and harmonized to deliver sustainable food systems.

*Partner associations involved in the survey are from France (Fermes d’Avenir, Idoki, and Syndicat du petit épeautre de Haute Provence); Germany (Solawi); Italy (Associazione delle Casare e dei Casari di Azienda Agricola); the Netherlands (Gilde van Traditionele Schaapherders, Stichting Streekeigen Producten Nederland, Stichting Week van de Smaak, SZH-Stichting Zeldzame Huisdierrassen, and Toekomstboeren), Romania (Adept, Asat, and Eco Ruralis); Spain (QueRed); and Sweden (Eldrimner and The National Association of Sami).

 

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