The EU’s ‘farm to fork’ strategy advocates for at least a 20% reduction in synthetic fertiliser use by 2030 and at least a 50% reduction in pesticides. This has come under fire from the US government and its cronies in the agrochemical sector who forward tired and discredited arguments that this will fuel hunger and starvation and lead to increased land use. The industry is determined to undermine the EU’s strategy, which also aims by 2030 to more than triple the percentage of EU farmland under organic management (from 8.1% to 25%). ‘A loud lobby for a silent spring’ is a 2022 report by the Brussels-based lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory, which details the carefully orchestrated attack on this EU strategy by the industry. Its business model depends on trapping farmers on chemical treadmills.
Of course, no one is advocating an immediate shift to organic cultivation methods. There has to be a gradual and careful phase out and phase in which would take place over a period of many years. In this respect, Vandana Shiva says in a recent article that it is time governments made the fertiliser industry pay for nitrogen pollution and redirect subsidies from industrial agriculture to ecological farming.
Rather than attacking farmers (as is currently happening in the Netherlands), she says new agroecology schools need to be open for farmers to make a transition to ecological agriculture over a three- to five-year period. At the same time, we must not be hoodwinked by the relentless fear-mongering (concerning organics) of the agritech-agribusiness lobby, which requires farmers to continue to purchase its proprietary inputs, including synthetic fertilisers, while continuing to rollout and impose its high-input, high-energy, health-damaging model of industrial agriculture across the world.
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