A new impact assessment study by a consortium of European Union (EU) and German agricultural associations has warned that EU farm-to-fork policies would lead to higher prices for oilseeds and other products.
The policies, alongside biodiversity strategies, would also lead to a drop in production, according to the Impact Assessment Study for the Green Deal by the Grain Club alliance and other associations, including EU vegetable oil and protein meal industry association (FEDIOL).
For cereals, oilseeds and beef, production would drop around 20%, while prices would increase by 10%-20% for fruits and vegetables, oilseeds and cereals, according to the study.
Published on 13 September, the study was led by Prof Dr Christian Henning, professor of agricultural policy and director of the institute of agricultural economics at Kiel University.
“Although the package of measures increases ecosystem services in the EU, it does not yet achieve the intended positive effect on the global climate,” he said.
“The projected greenhouse gas (GHG) savings that would occur through the decrease of European agricultural production would be entirely offset by an increase in GHG emissions from agriculture outside the EU, coupled with land use change in the EU.”
A sharp drop in cereals and beef production as a result of the farm-to-fork strategy would result in the EU moving from a net export position to a net import position, according to the study.
Ludwig Striewe, of the German Agricultural Trade Association, said the group fully shared the European Commission’s objectives concerning protection of biodiversity, water resources and climate. However, the balance between supply and demand was extremely tight and prices were at record levels, he said.
“From the industry’s perspective, it is currently hard to imagine that EU food production could be quickly replaced by other countries’ production,” Striewe added.
The “one-size-fits-all” requirements of the farm-to-fork policies as currently envisaged would be of limited help to farmers and society, according to Prof Henning, head of the study team.
“The intended positive impact of individual measures relating to ecosystem services would be counteracted by negative effects which would go against some of the Green Deal’s goals.”
The consortium of agricultural trade associations is urging the EU to review and scrutinise the farm-to-fork policies.