The EU Farm to Fork strategy aims to make food systems more “fair, healthy, and environmentally-friendly” by attempting to minimize the environmental impact of the food chain, reduce waste, and improve dietary standards. The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 calls for the “protection of nature and reversing the degradation of ecosystems.” Both of these environmental sustainability measures are key components of the European Green Deal, which aims to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050.
The Farm to Fork initiative identifies the role of EU agricultural production in sustainability and requires the reduction of pesticide use by 50%, reduction of fertilizer use by 20%, and the decrease of antimicrobial use for livestock by 50%. It also decreases the amount of farmland in production by as much as 10% and calls for the transition of up to 25% of farmland into organic production.
A recent USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) analysis indicates that the European Commission’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategy initiatives to reduce use of chemical inputs may increase food prices in the EU as production costs increase and output is decreased. Restrictions on agricultural inputs in the EU would also harm the EU’s competitiveness in global markets. However, the USDA ERS analysis evaluates three separate possible scenarios of the adaption of Farm to Fork: “EU-only, middle (adoption by some countries, and including explicit EU trade restrictions against non-adopters), and global adoption.”
Sustainability measures incorporated in Farm to Fork could also impact trade with the United States and Eliasan will continue to monitor Farm to Fork developments as perspective on its implementation is still evolving.
Through Farm to Fork, the EU aspires to be a global model for sustainability and to promote Farm to Fork standards worldwide through its trade policies. While it is too early to determine the extent that Form to Fork measures will be adopted outside the EU, Farm to Fork will likely influence the EU trading landscape and EU regulations will be monitored with regard to their impact on international trade.