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Measures Proposed to Ensure Green Transition

6 June 2012, at 8:48am

EU - At EU Farm Ministers Informal Meeting, which focused on enabling the EU agri-food sector to contribute to a green transition of our modern economy, Copa-Cogeca outlined measures to ensure green growth in the future under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Copa-Cogeca stressed that with food demand on the rise, we have to ensure a more efficient, productive agriculture in a sustainable way. This has also been called for by many Ministers.

In a paper recently sent to the EU Commission, Council and Parliament, Copa-Cogeca insisted that the new CAP must focus on measures which benefit the environment at the same time as maintaining agricultural production capacity. Farmers and their cooperatives must be given a choice of greening measures to apply from an extended EU list of measures to reflect the versatile and diverse nature of European agriculture.

Imposing the same three measures on all farmers from Scotland to Sicily, as proposed by the EU Commission, is neither practical, nor the best way to achieve environmental benefits, says Copa-Cogeca.

Speaking at the meeting in Denmark, Copa Vice-President Albert Jan Maat explained that with increasing challenges, we can no longer afford to look at things with no concern about the impact on costs or on production capacity. "What we need is a specific measure to promote green growth. Such a measure would also be the ideal way of putting project ideas which result from the European Innovation Partnership into operation.

"We have proposed the introduction of a new measure in the second pillar of the CAP with three main objectives: resource efficiency – in particular nutrients and water; carbon sequestration and green house gas emission reductions.”

Cogeca President Paolo Bruni strongly highlighted the need for improved research and innovation to boost productivity. He said there is a unique opportunity for farmers and their cooperatives to contribute to the development of the economy by further developing biomass production for non-food uses, such as energy and industrial products. Biofuel use and bioenergy helps the EU to cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost animal feed production via the protein-rich by-products from biofuel production.

This would also help to reduce the EUs’ very high dependency on imported animal feed. The next research program Horizon 2020 should therefore also focus also on the production of plants. In a bid to promote and stimulate innovation, Mr Bruni highlighted Cogecas’ event in European Parliament on June 20 2012 for the presentation of the European Award for Cooperative Innovation.