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  • Author: Jane Nolan, Insight Specialist, Bord Bia - The Irish Food Board

    What Impact Will Covid-19 Have on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy?



    Food security and sustainability is widely recognised as one of the most significant global challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. And that was before Covid-19. Now we need to think about what impacts the global pandemic will have on our sustainable food policies over the next ten to twenty years. Already we can see some short-term impacts with the launch date of the highly anticipated new EU Food Policy – the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) currently under review with a delay to its launch date – which had been planned for April 29th. Having been delayed twice now the European Commission is ready to unveil the much awaited food policy on May 20th according to its Vice President Frans Timmermans.


    The F2F strategy will be embedded in the EUs flagship environmental policy, the Green Deal. The strategy, which will be published in full later this month sets out the Commissions plans to make agriculture a global leader in sustainable production as part of a wider plan to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050. There had been calls from several MEPs to delay the strategy due to the coronavirus crisis, however the Green Deal is seen by some as central to the EU recovery plan.


    F2F will feature legislative actions across the five key strategies with targets around each strategy being set by the Commission. The first strategy, announced on several occasions by Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, involves the reduction of the use and risk of synthetic chemicals and pesticides. Other strategies include decreasing the use of antimicrobial products for farmed animals, increasing the EU’s land area dedicated to organic farming, reversing the rise in obesity rates and cutting fertilisers.


    Although Ireland is well positioned to respond in the future via Origin Green, our pioneering food and drink sustainability programme, operating at a national scale uniting government, the private sector, farming and food and drink producers, there is no doubt the targets being discussed across these five strategies will test the food system. Add on top of that the ongoing global nature of the covid-19 crisis and the implications for Irish food and drink producers and exporters will be widespread. Through our on-going conversations with our Bord Bia clients however, we know they have the energy, commitment and ideas to respond to all future challenges.