Financial aid essential to adapt to new EU strategies, says farm association

Financial aid essential to adapt to new EU strategies, says farm association

Financial aid essential to adapt to new EU strategies, says farm association Izvor: Damir Spehar/PIXSELL, Ilustracija

The EU Farm to Fork Strategy and Biodiversity Strategy 2030 need to take into account that Croatia has already met many ecological standards recommended to European farmers, but farmers need financial support to adapt to new plans, the Croatian Chamber of Agriculture said on Wednesday.

The European Commission on Wednesday adopted two new strategies on ecologically and acceptable food system and a biodiversity strategy which comprehends part of the European Green Deal.

The Farm to Fork Strategy includes several targets that need to be met by 2030 - reduce the use and risk of pesticides by 50%, reduce the use of fertilizers by at least 20%, reduce the sale of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture by 50%, and reach the target of at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming.

The new biodiversity strategy recommends that at least 30% of land and seas be transformed into effectively managed protected areas bringing back at least 10% of agricultural area under high-diversity landscape features.

"Funding of EUR 20 billion/year will be unlocked for biodiversity through various sources, including EU funds, national and private funding," the European Commission said in a press release calling on the European Parliament and Council to support the two strategies and their obligations and inviting citizens to engage in broad public debate.

The Croatian Chamber of Agriculture (HPK) commented on the latest documents presented yesterday recommending a smaller budget for agriculture while introducing greater demands saying that this was concerning for farmers throughout Europe.

HPK underlined that Croatia has already met numerous ecological standards that the EU has put to farmers - clean environment (more than 50% of the Natura Area) GMO free farmland, economic diversification as an advantage.

HPK believes that the new strategies need to take account of three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and ecological.

"If farmers are to additionally contribute to this ambitious plan they need to be provided with adequate financial support and a transition period to adapt," HPK said.

Environment Minister Tomislav Coric welcomed the biodiversity strategy describing it as one of the key elements of the European Green Deal, underlining that in the latest circumstances the strategy was more relevant than ever.

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