The potential of European agriculture is closely related to maintaining small and medium-sized farms and ending agricultural industrialization – EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski stressed on Monday in Łódź.
As part of the Europe Day celebrated on Monday, the EU Commissioner gave a lecture at the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection at the University of Lodz entitled “Evolution of EU policy on environmental and climate protection following the example of the agricultural sector”.
Among other things, Wojciechowski pointed out that in agriculture we are dealing with an increasing intensity of agricultural production and the industrialization of this sector of the economy, resulting in a large decrease in the number of farms in the EU. As he said, in 2005 there were 14 million and in the last ten years 4 million farms have declined.
– Some said it was good because we could have bigger farms, but it’s not a good phenomenon. The potential of European agriculture is closely linked to maintaining small and medium-sized farms and ending the phenomenon of agricultural industrialization – turning agriculture into industry, farms into factories, animals into machines. This is not a good direction and it is something we are trying to change in the current common agricultural policy, he stressed.
He explained that Italy is a good example of a policy that bases its agriculture on the system of small farms. He indicates that this country currently has about 8 percent. agricultural land in the EU, accounting for 18%. Union production in this sector. He added that the average area of a farm in Poland is comparable to that in Italy (11 ha), the country with the largest agricultural production in the EU, with an estimated added value of around €33 billion.
Tasks of the common agricultural policy
The EU Commissioner for Agriculture stressed that the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy also aims to make farming more environmentally friendly, climate friendly and animal welfare friendly.
– On the other hand, it must be carried out in such a way that it is a reform that is also beneficial to the farmers. Without them we have no food security. We are implementing a reform that seeks to reconcile these goals. We have already carried out the first phase, which concerned the legislative form of the common agricultural policy for the years 2021-2027. It’s already done, last year the European Parliament passed the reform – stated Wojciechowski.
Now – as he added – the second phase of the development of National Strategic Plans is underway. “There is an ongoing dialogue with Member States and this should lead to the approval of the plans in the coming months,” he said.
He noted that the so-called eco-schemes, ie agrotechnical practices conducive to environmental and climate protection. A minimum of 25 percent is to hit them. funds for direct payments to farmers. Wojciechowski said that the full budget of the common agricultural policy is EUR 387 billion for seven years, of which approximately EUR 100 billion is a rural development fund, and EUR 287 billion directly to farmers.
He indicated that, in his opinion, environmentally friendly activities in Poland should focus on animal welfare. – It is not about imposing a rigid framework, but about incentives for farmers to rely on less crowded farms, with more space and free range for animals, no chains, their own feed from the farm – the EU Commissioner argued.
In turn, crop production, as he said, should focus on the so-called coal cultivation to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions and store atmospheric CO2 in plants and soils using a variety of agronomic techniques.
– We want to support this kind of action and thus make agriculture more friendly to the environment, climate and animal welfare and put an end to the revolt of nature, which we are starting to see in some areas. We focus on the sustainable development of agriculture – emphasized Wojciechowski.