During last annual speech on the State of the Union, held on 13 September 2023, European Commission President, Ursula Von der Leyen, announced the launch of a “strategic dialogue” on the future of agriculture in the EU, in order to have “more dialogue and less polarisation” in the agri-food policy debate.
Addressing EU agrifood stakeholders at the EU Agri-Food days, the annual event on agricultural outlook held this year on 6 December, she detailed how and in what form this dialogue will be structured and will take place.
It will launch in January 2024 and stakeholders representing the extraordinary diversity of the agri-food sector, from small traditional producers of organic food to large wheat producers, will be invited to participate and to contribute to the following questions:
- How can we give farmers/rural areas a better perspective, including fair standard of living?
- How can we support agriculture within the boundaries of our planet?
- How can we make best use of knowledge and innovation?
- How can we promote a thriving future for Europe’s food system?
Alongside the Strategic Dialogue, the Commission has started to organise a series of 5 technical workshops through which it will consult Member States’ experts and key stakeholders represented within the Civil Dialogue Group on CAP Strategic Plans, to identify challenges and to assess needs in agriculture with a view to gather input for future policy developments, particularly the future CAP whose proposal should be ready in Autumn 2025.
The workshops will focus on five topics: Resilience; Food Security; Sustainability; Solidarity and Rural Area; Governance and performance.
The first one on Resilience took place in a hybrid format on December 11th. AREPO had the possibility to participate.
To address economic, social and environmental dimensions of resilience, the workshop aimed at collecting evidence and views on the stability of farming and the perspectives for farming from the angles of adaptability, robustness and transformability of the sector, including its role in the food system. Adaptation to climate change, water resilience, risk and crisis management and innovation were also at the heart of the discussion.
After the more general exchange held in the morning, the afternoon was dedicated to three breakout groups for specific discussion on three themes:
- Group 1 focused on robustness (preparedness and absorption): farming system’s capacity to withstand stresses and (un)anticipated shocks;
- Group 2 focused on adaptability: capacity to change the composition of inputs, production, marketing and risk management in response to shocks and stresses but without changing the structures and feedback mechanisms of the farming system;
- Group 3 focused on transformability: capacity to significantly change the business model in response to either severe shocks or enduring stress that make business as usual impossible
AREPO will keep participating in the future meetings on the remaining four topics, that will be held between February and April 2024, trying to prepare in advance its participation through regular internal consultations of its members.