Move "Farm to Fork" strategy towards sustainable intensification instead of extensification
UFOP publishes fifth Report on Global Market Supply
Berlin, 25 February 2022. – The implementation of the EU Commission's "Farm to Fork" strategy will lead to an extensification across the board, an increase in import demand and shift effects in the global flow of goods. The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e.V. (UFOP) has highlighted these concerns on the occasion of publishing the fifth updated edition of its Report on Global Market Supply.
The association is calling for a shift of focus towards sustainable intensification and optimization of acreage productivity in crop production by means of expanded crop rotation coupled with extensive digitization. This technological step is necessary in order to fully exploit the optimization potential in production management whilst at the same time making an important contribution to improving the profitability, ecology and climate change performance. The UFOP represents the view that, instead, the EU Commission relies on regulations without sufficiently reflecting on their potential implications. The association warms that time is running out in every respect – not just in respect of climate change mitigation. Agriculture is, after all, becoming more and more important as a provider of biomass as a renewable feedstock for material and, above all, energy uses in the bioeconomy.
The production and processing of biomass to produce low-carbon fuels and high-protein animal feed that is generated as a by-product, combined with steadily tightened requirements for sustainability certification, are making an important contribution to reducing imports of feedstuff and energy. This benefit goes beyond climate protection. The UFOP underlines that all renewable energy supply options should be used to fend off the current explosion of energy prices and uncertainty about energy supply. The "multitalent" biomass is a storable and controllable source of energy that should be developed further as an important pillar of sustainable energy supply. Farms themselves offer a wide variety of on-farm uses. The association argues that the positive response to the energy efficiency programme run by the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture attests to the fundamentally strong interest in adopting this adaptation process.
The UFOP report points out that farming of feedstock for use in biofuel production has a vital strategic function for safeguarding market supply in the EU, but also in Asia and North and South America. More specifically, approximately 2.8 billion tonnes of grains (including rice) and 0.636 billion tonnes of oilseeds were produced on a global scale in the 2021/2022 crop year, of which a relatively small share went into biofuel production. However, these feedstocks were also available to the food market at all times. The UFOP asks if there is justification for extensifying EU agriculture across the board and reducing the Community's contribution to supplying the global market in light of the more than 800 million people still suffering from malnutrition.
The UFOP Report on Global Market Supply 2021/2022 is available as download: