EU plans to cut pesticide use by 50% and boost organic

The European Commission has set out plans to transform a quarter of all agricultural land to organic by 2030
The European Commission has set out plans to transform a quarter of all agricultural land to organic by 2030

The European Union is aiming to cut pesticide use by 50 percent by 2030 as part of a new environmentally-friendlier 'farm to fork' strategy.

The European Commission presented the food and farming plans on Wednesday (20 May) as part of the bloc's wider European Green Deal policy.

The strategy set out targets to transform the EU's food system, including a target to reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030.

The Commission wants to reduce the use of fertilisers by at least 20%, and slash the sales of antimicrobials used for farmed animals by half.



It also proposed measures to improve labelling to better meet consumers' information needs on healthy, sustainable foods.

The strategy includes 27 key actions, and aims "to reconcile our food systems with our planet's health, to ensure food security and meet the aspirations of Europeans for healthy, equitable and eco-friendly food," EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said.



However, it faced opposition from the European People's Party (EPP) - the largest in the EU legislature - who stated that the strategy could backfire for farmers.

EPP agriculture spokesman Herbert Dorfmann said: "We regret that the European Commission is hurrying its 'farm to fork' strategy now when farmers all over Europe are facing huge insecurity over their future."

EU agri-cooperative Copa and Cogeca questioned if food prices would rise under the new plans.

"It is really important to reflect what are the expectations among consumers and citizens to pay more for the food in return for these additional requirements," said Pekka Pesonen, secretary-general of the co-op.

He also said that the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis could see a significant fall in EU citizens' purchasing power.