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Desertification and agriculture

10-02-2020

Desertification is a land degradation process that occurs in drylands. It affects the land's capacity to supply ecosystem services, such as producing food or hosting biodiversity, to mention the most well known ones. Its drivers are related to both human activity and the climate, and depend on the specific context. More than 1 billion people in some 100 countries face some level of risk related to the effects of desertification. Climate change can further increase the risk of desertification for ...

Desertification is a land degradation process that occurs in drylands. It affects the land's capacity to supply ecosystem services, such as producing food or hosting biodiversity, to mention the most well known ones. Its drivers are related to both human activity and the climate, and depend on the specific context. More than 1 billion people in some 100 countries face some level of risk related to the effects of desertification. Climate change can further increase the risk of desertification for those regions of the world that may change into drylands for climatic reasons. Desertification is reversible, but that requires proper indicators to send out alerts about the potential risk of desertification while there is still time and scope for remedial action. However, issues related to the availability and comparability of data across various regions of the world pose big challenges when it comes to measuring and monitoring desertification processes. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN sustainable development goals provide a global framework for assessing desertification. The 2018 World Atlas of Desertification introduced the concept of 'convergence of evidence' to identify areas where multiple pressures cause land change processes relevant to land degradation, of which desertification is a striking example. Desertification involves many environmental and socio-economic aspects. It has many causes and triggers many consequences. A major cause is unsustainable agriculture, a major consequence is the threat to food production. To fully comprehend this two-way relationship requires to understand how agriculture affects land quality, what risks land degradation poses for agricultural production and to what extent a change in agricultural practices can reverse the trend. Cropland expansion and intensification of agriculture are among the drivers of land degradation processes that can lead to desertification. Yet, agriculture itself can provide solutions to land degradation. Almost half of the EU Member States have declared that part of their territory is affected by desertification, yet there is no EU-level strategy to tackle this problem. EU agricultural policy can have an impact on the elements and drivers of desertification, for example, by promoting sustainable agriculture in the awareness that protecting farmland productivity is of interest to the public and farmers alike.

EU trade and transport of live animals

07-02-2020

Every year, millions of live animals are transported within and outside European Union (EU) territory for trade purposes. EU legislation regulates the protection of animals during transport, but reports of breaches of the rules and accidents raise doubts on the transport of live animals and have rekindled the debate on the need to improve the current legislation.

Every year, millions of live animals are transported within and outside European Union (EU) territory for trade purposes. EU legislation regulates the protection of animals during transport, but reports of breaches of the rules and accidents raise doubts on the transport of live animals and have rekindled the debate on the need to improve the current legislation.

'From Farm to Fork' strategy on sustainable food

20-01-2020

The 'Farm to Fork' strategy is one of the initiatives announced in President Ursula von der Leyen's political guidelines for the new Commission, as part of the European Green Deal. It aims at creating a sustainable food value chain through legislative and non legislative actions to be presented in spring 2020.

The 'Farm to Fork' strategy is one of the initiatives announced in President Ursula von der Leyen's political guidelines for the new Commission, as part of the European Green Deal. It aims at creating a sustainable food value chain through legislative and non legislative actions to be presented in spring 2020.

Irrigation in EU agriculture

13-12-2019

Irrigation is the provision of water to help crops grow when rainfall is not sufficient. While new farming methods and technologies allow some types of crops to be grown without soil, a certain amount of water is needed to grow any kind of crop. In today's economy, agriculture is one of the sectors that consumes the most water resources. Irrigation is the major cause of water consumption in agriculture. It contributes to increasing crop productivity, but it is also a threat to the preservation of ...

Irrigation is the provision of water to help crops grow when rainfall is not sufficient. While new farming methods and technologies allow some types of crops to be grown without soil, a certain amount of water is needed to grow any kind of crop. In today's economy, agriculture is one of the sectors that consumes the most water resources. Irrigation is the major cause of water consumption in agriculture. It contributes to increasing crop productivity, but it is also a threat to the preservation of water resources. Therefore, the issue of water scarcity requires careful reflection on the trade-off between higher agricultural productivity and the deterioration of water resources. A number of elements determine the amount of irrigation water used in agriculture, from the types of crop and cropping method to the characteristics of the soil and the irrigation technique, to name just a few. Therefore, agriculture itself provides opportunities for better water management and water savings, through both traditional farm practices and new farming technologies. Irrigation has been a feature of European agriculture for thousands of years. Not surprisingly, the majority of irrigated agricultural areas are in the EU’s southern regions, in particular in Spain and Italy. However, there are areas equipped for irrigation elsewhere, especially in the Netherlands. Over 40 % of the EU's water use is on agriculture, and most of the freshwater abstraction is for agricultural use in countries like Greece, Spain, and Cyprus. Prolonged periods of drought in many parts of the Union, the effects of climate change and pollution, as well as competition over use add further pressure on EU waters. Ensuring food security in view of climate change requires improvement in water-management capacity, including making users (farmers) more responsible. In recent times, the environmental performance of sectoral policies, such as in the area of agriculture, is increasingly scrutinised by citizens, stakeholders, and policy-makers. Various EU policy initiatives have been launched to address the challenge of sustainable water use in agriculture, including a more integrated approach to water management, water re-use, research and innovation, and more environmental ambition in the agricultural policy. Better policy coordination between EU policies and actions is seen as key to achieving the sustainable safeguarding of EU waters.

Stability of EU farmer income support post 2020

10-12-2019

EU farmer income support benefits millions of farmers across Europe every year. The existing legal basis for this support covers the years 2014 to 2020. Delays in the negotiating process on both the EU budget and farm policy for 2021 2027 necessitate adoption of transitional provisions to ensure the continuation of the current rules. The Parliament is due to vote on a Commission proposal on these issues during its December plenary session.

EU farmer income support benefits millions of farmers across Europe every year. The existing legal basis for this support covers the years 2014 to 2020. Delays in the negotiating process on both the EU budget and farm policy for 2021 2027 necessitate adoption of transitional provisions to ensure the continuation of the current rules. The Parliament is due to vote on a Commission proposal on these issues during its December plenary session.

CAP horizontal regulation: Financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy for 2021-2027

25-06-2019

As part of the preparation of the EU budget for 2021-2027, the European Commission put forward a new set of regulations to shape the future EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on 1 June 2018. The proposal for a regulation on the financing, management and monitoring of the CAP provides the legislative framework for adapting the financing, management and monitoring rules to a new CAP delivery model. This seeks to achieve more subsidiarity and simplification, with greater responsibility given to Member ...

As part of the preparation of the EU budget for 2021-2027, the European Commission put forward a new set of regulations to shape the future EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on 1 June 2018. The proposal for a regulation on the financing, management and monitoring of the CAP provides the legislative framework for adapting the financing, management and monitoring rules to a new CAP delivery model. This seeks to achieve more subsidiarity and simplification, with greater responsibility given to Member States, a shift from ensuring single transaction compliance to monitoring system performance in each Member State, and reduced 'red tape', among other things. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Understanding farmer income

11-04-2019

Farmer income is a key element in EU agricultural policy, aiming at ensuring a fair standard of living for the agricultural community and helping farmers face the risks inherent to their business. Measurement relies on two EU wide data sources. Understanding what agricultural receipts these data measure, and how, is key to evaluating farm policy in EU Member States and important in light of the proposed performance based policy framework.

Farmer income is a key element in EU agricultural policy, aiming at ensuring a fair standard of living for the agricultural community and helping farmers face the risks inherent to their business. Measurement relies on two EU wide data sources. Understanding what agricultural receipts these data measure, and how, is key to evaluating farm policy in EU Member States and important in light of the proposed performance based policy framework.

The EU fruit and vegetable sector: Main features, challenges and prospects

11-03-2019

Fruit and vegetables accounted for approximately 14 % of the total value of the EU's agricultural production in 2018. This is a fundamental sector for many EU Member States, especially those where it is particularly well developed, such as in the Mediterranean region and in some northern and eastern European countries. Moreover, all EU Member States produce at least a few types of fruit and vegetables. Apples and tomatoes are the main products of the richly diversified produce of the EU's fruit and ...

Fruit and vegetables accounted for approximately 14 % of the total value of the EU's agricultural production in 2018. This is a fundamental sector for many EU Member States, especially those where it is particularly well developed, such as in the Mediterranean region and in some northern and eastern European countries. Moreover, all EU Member States produce at least a few types of fruit and vegetables. Apples and tomatoes are the main products of the richly diversified produce of the EU's fruit and vegetable farms. Mostly small-sized with relatively high labour input, these farms earn incomes ranging from average (for fruit specialists) to very high (for horticulture specialists, including also flower and ornamental plant production). EU trade in fruit and vegetables is characterised by the predominance of internal over external flows, where the EU is traditionally a net importer. To strengthen the resilience of both the fruit and vegetable sector and its operators, and to boost the consumption of their produce, the EU has in place a comprehensive support system, especially through the regulatory framework for the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products. Rules on producer organisations and their operational programmes, crisis management and marketing standards, help the functioning of the sector, with additional support from the EU school fruit and vegetables scheme, as well as from the EU promotion and quality policies, income support and rural development measures, valid for all agricultural sectors. Recently passed EU legislation has already brought in important adjustments for the fruit and vegetable sector and no further major policy changes are currently anticipated. It will be its capacity to overcome its structural vulnerability and weak organisation, adopt innovation and respond to consumer needs that will shape its future.

Ensuring continuity of support for EU farmers in 2019 and 2020

09-01-2019

Every year, more than 6 million EU farms receive income support from direct payments (DP), a key element of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that represents more than 70 % of total CAP expenditure. Rural development measures also support farming activities and contribute to enhancing people's livelihoods in rural areas, which represent a large share of EU territory. To ensure continuity of EU support and guarantee a smooth continuation of the CAP's implementation, the European Commission proposes ...

Every year, more than 6 million EU farms receive income support from direct payments (DP), a key element of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that represents more than 70 % of total CAP expenditure. Rural development measures also support farming activities and contribute to enhancing people's livelihoods in rural areas, which represent a large share of EU territory. To ensure continuity of EU support and guarantee a smooth continuation of the CAP's implementation, the European Commission proposes to modify certain rules on DP and rural development, through the timely adoption of a regulation that should apply from 1 March 2019.

Integrated farm statistics

27-06-2018

As the EU’s policies evolve and adapt to changing circumstances, European statistics need to develop and meet users’ information needs efficiently. New technologies can help to combine and integrate different data sources without too great a burden on data producers. Farm statistics are the backbone of the EU’s agricultural statistical system. To increase their response speed to new data needs, the Commission put forward a new approach based on an integrated, flexible and modular framework. The Parliament ...

As the EU’s policies evolve and adapt to changing circumstances, European statistics need to develop and meet users’ information needs efficiently. New technologies can help to combine and integrate different data sources without too great a burden on data producers. Farm statistics are the backbone of the EU’s agricultural statistical system. To increase their response speed to new data needs, the Commission put forward a new approach based on an integrated, flexible and modular framework. The Parliament and Council reached a negotiated agreement on the proposal, which is scheduled to be voted by Parliament at first reading during the July plenary session.

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