We must take action to solve the real and urgent problems facing agriculture. But the actions we are taking must not undermine our long-term vision of a healthy and sustainable agricultural sector. You know, I’ve been at this for 30 years. Whenever we propose something in the agricultural field, the reaction is the same: ‘postpone, derogation, not for us, for someone else’.
70% of soil in the EU is now in an unhealthy state, and 80% of that soil is agricultural land or grassland. These are scientific facts. This poses a greater threat to our long-term food security than the conflict in Ukraine, since 75 percent of the world’s most important food crops depend on animal pollination. In Europe, five billion euros a year are directly dependent on animal pollination. Please let us separate the immediate crisis from the long-term adjustment we need.
The latest plan is to build silos to get the transport started. For this we have to use international instruments, especially the World Food Program, to get enough money and projects for Africa. That is our immediate priority. For me it makes no sense to use protected areas to produce even more raw materials. By the way, another effect of this crisis and the unbelievable prices for fertilizers is that organic farming has become more profitable because it does not need Russian gas to produce fertilizers.
We have to prove to the agricultural community that there is a win for them here. The young farmers get it, they really get it. And they want to be a part of it. The agricultural community is not a monolith on this issue. But of course the agro-industrial complex is mobilized and a very, very confrontational debate ensues, like the ones I have with you all the time.
I have never personally attacked anyone from Copa-Cogeca, but the President of Copa-Cogeca makes it a point to constantly attack me personally. I wonder why she is so aggressive towards me. Is it because I’m right? Could that be the reason?
But a change of course has an immediate impact on a great many farms in the European Union. You have to get them on board. The stakeholders lead them to believe that what we do will cost farmers their livelihoods. I, on the other hand, am deeply convinced that if we do not do what we are proposing, in 10 to 15 years the biodiversity problems will be so serious that farming in Europe will no longer be sustainable. Then we really will have a food crisis in Europe.