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"From farm to fork": regions and cities must be on board to support producers, protect the environment and fight food poverty after the crisis  

The CoR calls for full consistency of the EU's strategy with the Common Agricultural Policy and the Green Deal's objectives

The COVID-19 pandemic showed up the deep interrelations between public health, ecosystems and food systems. In an opinion drafted by Guido Milana (IT/PES) and adopted by the plenary of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), local and regional leaders welcome the "Farm to Fork" strategy but call for a greater emphasis on short supply chains and on local and regional forms of production, based on animal and environmental well-being, and nutritional quality.

The Farm to Fork strategy for sustainable food is a pillar both of the European Green Deal – a flagship initiative of the EU – and of the EU's recovery plan. The strategy was presented on 20 May 2020 by the European Commission and it will cover every link in the food chain, from production to consumption. It aims to build a sustainable food system in the EU that safeguards food security and protects people’s health and the environment.

Through the opinion From farm to fork – the local and regional dimension , drafted by Guido Milana (IT/PES), municipal councillor from Olevano Romano Municipal Council (Rome) and former Member of the European Parliament, the CoR highlights that it is essential that Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) post 2020 are fully aligned with the objectives of the Farm to Fork strategy and Biodiversity for 2030 targets.

" The Farm to Fork Strategy can help to bring access to food - a basic but fundamental issue – back to the heart of the political debate. The pandemic has actually increased inequalities and we need to make food systems more equitable and sustainable. However, the lack of ambition in the CAP review risks putting everything at risk and we regret this lack of coherence " said the rapporteur Milana.

The CoR supports the Farm to Fork strategy and the targets put forward by the Commission on the reduction of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and antimicrobials as well as on the increase of organic farming. In addition, the CoR calls for thorough impact assessment of the quantified targets and for the monitoring of the progress achieved.

To bring forward local and regional dimension, the CoR points out that food public procurement is one of the key element to make the transformation to sustainable food system happen at local and regional level. Public authorities' purchasing power represents 14% of EU GDP. Therefore, public procurement can serve as a powerful driver of the demand for sustainable products. The institutional demand is important for increasing the use of sustainable food and for opening up market opportunities for small suppliers.

Regions and cities can act as key players in the transition to more sustainable food system. As such, they need to be involved in the implementation and monitoring of the Strategy. To better take into account their needs, regional authorities should be able to continue performing their role as managing authorities and be involved in designing of the eco-schemes at both European and national level.

Read the interview with Guido Milana, rapporteur on the Farm to Fork strategy

Contacts:

Matteo Miglietta

Tel. +32 470 895 382

matteo.miglietta@cor.europa.eu

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