During its Board Meeting on Tuesday 26th May, the European Confederation of Maize Growers (CEPM) analysed the European Commission’s Green Deal project, which focuses on the two strategies “Farm to Fork” and “Biodiversity”, likely to guide the CAP reform. On climate, food, health, and energy, and especially at a time when these challenges are immense and when our fellow citizens expect answers that will lead to greater sovereignty and the protection of their values, the Commission is steering EU agriculture down the path of degrowth without taking into account the lessons of the coronavirus pandemic.
Committed maize growers at the service of the EU…
Deeply European, the maize growers gathered within CEPM invest year after year to change their practices, progress, reassure and satisfy the aspirations of their fellow citizens. Fully invested in the challenges of food and energy sovereignty, they wish to go further and show responsibility by taking an active part in balancing the world’s leading production while contributing to the fight against climate change. Beyond its extraordinary production potential, through its ability to store carbon in the soil and its capacity to provide clean energy (biofuels, biogas), maize provides solutions that the EU cannot ignore.
… but not in the direction of degrowth.
However, the ” Farm to Fork” and “Biodiversity” strategies, deployed under the Green Deal, aim to divest themselves of this asset by pursuing senseless numerical objectives: 10% of non-productive agricultural land, 50% reduction in plant protection products and 20% reduction in fertilizers, 25% development of organic agriculture and who cares if the market is not there! Has the Commission even measured the impact of these figures? There are huge production losses throughout Europe and massive imports of products produced using methods that are banned in Europe.
European maize producers denounce a framework that does not allow them to meet current and future
requirements. Far from rejecting any change in practices, they are first and foremost calling for the protection of European agriculture which, year after year, is increasingly weakened by unbearable distortions of competition. They also ask to be able to participate in global challenges by developing virtuous production for all markets and thanks to all innovations, particularly biotechnological ones. At a time when the EU is considering the regulation of biotechnologies, CEPM recalls the need to ensure access to European producers and consumers to products derived from them.
For Daniel Peyraube, CEPM President : « Disregarding the lessons learned from the COVID crisis, which highlighted the need for abundant, local, quality food and the capacity of agriculture to respond to the climate emergency, this Green Deal today has all the hallmarks of a Black Deal. We are saying yes to the continued evolution of our practices but only if it really serves our fellow citizens. We refuse to sacrifice our own maize production to be replaced by imports produced under conditions that are not allowed in our territories. The EU must not be stubborn on the path of degrowth, but must give European agriculture the capacity to exploit its potential back. European maize growers are ready for this».