Bijdrage plenaire verga­dering over een “van boer tot bord”-strategie voor een eerlijk, gezond en mili­eu­vrien­delijk voed­sel­systeem

18 oktober 2021

Anja Hazekamp (PvdD): Thank you President. Dear commissioner. Dear colleagues.

Today, we are talking about food. About the vital energy source that fuels us.

And much like the fuels that feeds our factories and cars, our food system must undergo a transition.

Because the way we are feeding ourselves today, is undermining our future. We have already far exceeded the carrying capacity of the Earth.

Our current food production and consumption is responsible for about a third of all our greenhouse gas emissions. And an even greater proportion of biodiversity loss.

I am grateful to the Commission for delivering the farm-to-fork strategy. This prelude to crucial changes in our legislation and policy, did not come a day too soon. Its goals and ambitions are necessary to transform our thinking and actions with regard to food.

I am also grateful to my colleagues on the Environment and Agriculture Committees, and in particular to Mr Herbert Dorfmann, my fellow rapporteur, for their dedication to working on our response to this strategy. We have discussed our positions, ideas and proposals for the further development of the strategy in an open and inclusive process. And, I am proud of the result.

It is no secret that I believe our joint response could and should have been far more ambitious on many issues. But, our report offers hope. Hope for a liveable future, in which the food that sustains us, will no longer be produced at the expense of future generations. They too will need food security.

By setting targets for the use of pesticides and promoting the development of environmentally friendly alternatives, we can halt the decline of crucial pollinators, such as bees. By strengthening animal welfare legislation, we can reduce the worst suffering that goes on behind the closed doors of barns, trucks, ships and slaughterhouses. By investing in a transition to a more plant-based diet, we can spare animals the suffering, fight food-related disease, save precious farmland and biodiversity, and limit the climate impact of what is on our plates. By providing food with clear labels and a fair and true price, we can enable consumers to make more informed choices for the environment, animals, and their own health. The sustainable choice must be the most affordable one.

Crucially, the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy must create a path for a Common Food Policy, which achieves policy coherence. For example, we cannot truly restore biodiversity or successfully achieve a protein transition while we are still heavily subsidising the intensive animal agriculture industry and signing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that directly contradict these goals.

By extending the rules we set for food to imported products, we protect our farmers from unfair competition. By investing in and sharing knowledge, we enable farmers to produce more sustainably. By redirecting the very significant agricultural funds to support truly sustainable agricultural practices, we will encourage the preservation of small farms that work with nature.

With these proposals, I am convinced that our report offers good starting points for the Commission to shape the legislative proposals that it has announced. I look forward to our continued work on aligning our food system with the planetary boundaries.

Thank you.


No action is no option. As the IPCC and IPBES have forewarned, if we do not take action now to halt the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity, this will undoubtedly lead to higher food prices and less food security worldwide.

If we want the Farm-to-Fork strategy to succeed, the EU must be willing to face-up to these challenges and resist pressure from corporate interests to carry on with business as usual.

The multinationals who dominate the seed and pesticides market, with manipulated, toxic-dependant products, they won’t profit from a change to a toxic-free, resilient form of agriculture. But the farmers, the ecosystems and the consumers, they will benefit from this transition.

Those who dominate the food & drink industry, who sell us ultra-processed food and soft-drinks, high in sugar, salt and fat, they won’t profit from the change to a more healthy food environment, fair and true pricing, and crystal clear labelling. But the farmers, the ecosystems and the consumers, they will benefit from this transition.

Those who make profit from confining millions of sentient animals in cramped cages, hauling them hundreds of kilometres to be brutally slaughtered, they don’t profit from changes to a more plant-based, healthy diet and crucial changes in animal welfare protections. But the animals, the caring farmers, the climate, our ecosystems, and the consumers, they will certainly benefit from this transition.

We have to listen to science and common-sense.

We will continue our fight for sustainable food systems, animal rights and animal welfare, healthy diets and a resilient future for farmers. And tomorrow, in the vote on our report, we have a great opportunity to start this journey.

Thank you.