Sensitivity of the farmland bird community to crop diversification in Sweden: does the CAP fit?

Sensitivity of the farmland bird community to crop diversification in Sweden: does the CAP fit?

RESEARCHERS SÖNKE EGGERS AND JONAS JOSEFSSON ILLUSTRATE THE IMPORTANCE OF STRUCTURAL CROP DIVERSITY FOR FARMLAND BIRD DIVERSITY

In a recent study published in Journal of Applied Ecology we used surveys of crop and farmland bird diversity on farms across Sweden’s main agricultural areas and illustrate the importance of structural crop diversity for farmland bird diversity. We also underline the absence of a distinction between different crop species in current EU Common Agricultural Policy Greening, while simultaneously setting levels on crop diversification too low resulting in little to no change in landscape-scale crop diversity on Swedish farmland.
 

The case for radical reform of agricultural policies

The case for radical reform of agricultural policies

Professor Tim Benton explains ‘Why do we have subsidies for farming as a sector'

Why do we have subsidies for farming as a sector?  The answer is to ensure that land provides food, as food is inherent in national security: we need to eat, to be healthy and to have economic activity.

Food should therefore be sustainably produced to ensure long term security.  Public spending on agriculture should ultimately be based on providing diets that preserve health (to underpin our economies) in a sustainable manner (so they will do this forever).  

On both global and local levels, our food systems do not foster health and sustainability.  Today, over 50% of the world’s population is malnourished in some way, either with too few calories and nutrients or too many.  Previous generations of agricultural policies have fostered production of cheap food that is calorie-rich but nutrient-poor, and so externalises costs onto both human health and the environment.

Why do we have subsidies for farming as a sector? The answer is to ensure that land provides food, as food is inherent in national security: we need to eat, to be healthy and to have economic activity. Food should therefore be sustainably produced to ensure long term security

Civil society call to fix broken EU farm policy gains ground

Civil society call to fix broken EU farm policy gains ground

Over 140 organisations from all over Europe – representing consumers and the food sector, and those working to promote environmental protection, health, and animal welfare – have joined a call for reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The organisations have responded to an appeal by ‘Living Land’ – a broad campaign which recognises that the EU’s agriculture policy is devastating to both our climate and our environment, wiping out wildlife, harming public health, and is failing small and medium sized farmers as well as rural communities.

Progressive taxes on pesticides can save both agriculture and nature

Progressive taxes on pesticides can save both agriculture and nature

To secure the future of agriculture and nature in Europe, a tax on artificial fertilizers, pesticides and imported fodder is necessary. This stated professor Frank Berendse today in a letter in the renowned scientific magazine Nature.

An enormous loss of biodiversity and numbers of birds, insects, and plants is happening in fields and meadows of Western Europe. The intensification of agriculture is one of the most important causes of this loss. This loss has an enormous impact on the services which the nature provides to the agricultural sector, like natural pest control and pollination.

Civil Society Statement on the Reform of European Agricultural Policies Good Food, Good Farming – Now

Civil Society Statement on the Reform of European Agricultural Policies Good Food, Good Farming – Now

Download the statement

We, the undersigned organisations, believe that the European food and farming system is broken: that it is working for the interests of a few to the detriment of the majority of people, farmers, and the planet.

Europe’s food and farming system directly contributes to a wasteful use of finite global resources and damages the environment by contributing to climate change, biodiversity loss, depletion of fisheries, deforestation, soil erosion, water scarcity, as well as water and air pollution.

Factory-style farming – largely dependent on imports and a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance – has been promoted at the expense of viable incomes for farmers and jobs in rural areas in Europe, as well as human rights, decent work, and livelihoods in developing countries.

Farmers are facing a flawed choice between bankruptcy and further intensification. Farmers practising credible alternatives like organic and agro-ecological agriculture remain on the fringes in favour of business as usual. At the same time, high levels of undernourishment, the rapid rise in obesity and unhealthy diets are among the main causes of death and disease both in Europe and worldwide. 

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has contributed to this broken food and farming system through the promotion of agro-industrial farming methods and global commodity chains. In order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, the EU must carry out a radical reform of the CAP and related policies. A fairer, more sustainable and resilient system is urgently needed. The undersigned organisations call for a major transformation of Europe’s food and farming system on the basis of the following principles:

  • Fair and diverse food and farming economies: ensure a fair income and decent work conditions for farmers and farm workers; facilitate access to farmland for sustainable peasant farming; encourage short supply chains and sustainable public procurement policies; grant fair access to high quality products for all consumers; prevent negative impacts on people’s right to food and on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the global south. 
  • Healthy environment and a food and farming system that respects animal welfare: ensure the end of harmful     subsidies; reward and incentivise the delivery of positive environmental and social outcomes; restore and prevent further loss of biodiversity; encourage conservation and active use of genetic diversity; ensure agricultural production is free from synthetic chemical pesticides and mineral fertilisers that harm the environment; prevent and minimise food waste throughout the food chain; halt food and feed imports linked to deforestation; ensure that animal health and welfare are effectively respected; replace the current industrial livestock system with extensive alternatives where animals are not treated as mere commodities and the balance between livestock and land capacity is ensured, while the overuse of antibiotics prevented; radically reduce emissions from farming and ensure a transition towards a resilient food and farming system.
  • Support for citizens’ health and well-being: ensure our food and farming system fosters healthy, nutritious, seasonal, local, culturally appropriate and affordable diets; encourage lower levels of animal product consumption; raise citizens’ awareness of the impacts of consumption on their own health, on farmers, animals and the environment; prevent negative impacts of agricultural methods on the health of farmers, farm workers and rural populations. 
  • A publicly accountable food system with participatory governance, citizens’ empowerment and democracy: involve citizens in transparent decision making processes; prevent corporate capture of decision making; empower local communities to lead the transformation.

Living Land campaign launched!

Credit: Simon Blackley/Creative Commons

Europe's food and farming system is devastating our climate and the environment, wiping out wildlife, harming public health, limiting consumer food choices, and it is failing small and medium-sized farmers as well as rural communities. In Europe, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the main driver behind this unsustainable system.

The Living Land campaign aims to show that an in-depth reform of this policy is both needed and possible - and that there is huge support for reform from a wide variety of sectors. And with the European Commission currently holding a Public Consultation on the future of the CAP, we have a unique opportunity to make this call for change heard!

Find out how you can join our campaign and take a look at our recommended responses to help you fill in the Commission’s Public Consultation.