The EU’s “Green Deal” Means Food Scarcity and Higher Prices
A new study by researchers at the Dutch Wageningen University & Research confirms that the European Union’s “farm to fork” and biodiversity strategy, a key component of its “Green Deal”, will lead to a severe drop in production, a doubling of food imports and skyrocketing prices.
That is hardly surprising given the main goals of the farm to fork (“F2F”) program: setting aside 25% of farmland for “organic” farming, reducing by 50% the use of pesticides and veterinary antibiotics, cutting the use of fertilizers by 20% and taking at least 10% of the current farmland out of production. Brussels claims such drastic measures are needed to combat climate change and reverse the loss of biodiversity. But in fact, they will lead to more hunger, less affordable good food, and the loss of countless independent family farms.
The conclusions of the Wageningen University researchers are similar to those of a study carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Autumn 2020 on the effects of the EU policy on food security worldwide (cf. SAS 48/20).
The Wageningen team focused more specifically on the impact of the F2F and Biodiversity strategies on annual crops (wheat, rape seed, maize,sugar beet, hops and tomatoes) and perennial crops (apples, olives, grapes and citrus), based on four scenarios, derived from those strategies. The first assumes a 50% reduction in the use of pesticides, including chemicals deemed the most harmful to the environment, while the second considers a 20% reduction in fertilizer use, and in practices to reduce nutrient loss. In scenario 3, at least 25% of farmland would be solely devoted to “organic” agriculture practices. And scenario 4 combines the objectives of the first two scenarios with the removal of at least 10% of the farmland from food production.
The researchers conducted detailed case studies on 25 farms across the EU, and extrapolated the impact to EU member state levels. According to Johan Bremmer, one of the researchers involved, scenario 4 “shows an average production decline of between 10 and 20%”, with up to a 30% decrease for some, while others would be hardly affected.
Moreover, there could be problems in the quality of the products. If fewer pesticides are used, Bremmer points out, grain could be attacked by fungal toxins and become “unsuitable as food or feed”. Fewer nutrients and pesticides can also result in lower yields of fruit, such as apples, which means “more scarcity and therefore price increases.”
Bremmer also notes that if the demand remains unchanged, “Europe will have to fill the gap by importing more. Plus, if Europe exports less, countries outside Europe will have to produce more themselves.”