In April 2022 the World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with Deloitte and NTT Data has released the report “Transforming Food Systems with Farmers: A Pathway for the EU. INSIGHT PAPER” to assess the state of art of EU transition towards a more sustainable agriculture. The report is available here.
With the Green Deal, in fact, the European Commission aims to make the EU fits for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. For the food chain this implies the creation of sustainable food system in order to benefit people, societies and the planet. In this framework, the Farm to Fork strategy is at the forefront to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system that should have a neutral or positive environmental impact, help to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts and reverse the loss of biodiversity.
For this reason, the Farm to Fork strategy is promoting climate-smart agriculture: if just an additional 20% of farmers adopted climate-smart agriculture, by 2030, the EU could reduce its annual agricultural GHG emissions by 6% and improve soil health over an area equivalent to 14% of EU’s agricultural land while improving farmer livelihoods by between €1.9 and €9.3 billion annually.
In order to assess the state of art of climate-smart agriculture in Europe the report has surveyed almost 1600 farmers from 7 countries, which represent 75% of the EU’s farmer base.
Based on the survey’s results the key barriers that prevent the scale of climate-smart agriculture are:
–Farm economics: farming in the EU is economically challenging, and this limits farmers’ ability to invest in and adopt climate-smart practices
–Awareness and knowledge: lack of knowledge or available information was the second most cited barrier to practising climate-smart agriculture.
–Data and technology: digital measurement tools are critical for the transition but their adoption is still low.
–Policy and regulation: fragmentation and flexibility in national regulatory frameworks limit investments and might generate market distortions.
–Diversity: different social, demographic and technological factors will be critical to scale up clime-smart agriculture around Europe.
Farmers have a great responsibility: with their contribution can feed the world with more nutricious food, restore critical habitats and soil health, mitigate and adapt to climate change and generate fair livelihoods for their communities. Climate-smart agriculture could help them in making the transition of the food supply chain real and could help the EU to achieve its goals of becoming a carbon neutral continent by 2050.
Yet, the barriers mentioned in the WEF report need to be addressed in order to support farmers: in this sense, FarmBox project aims to train farmers and young farmers to learn more about climate-smart agriculture and its practices and “experiment” their impact in a virtual environment.