EU food study: Green Deal not a threat but salvation

A close up of vegetables in a stall in the market hall

A scientific study by the European Commission concludes that the Russian war in Ukraine may lead to a temporary disruption of food security, but that increasing climate change and environmental pollution pose a structural threat to global food production.

The study recognizes that the use of chemical agents in agriculture is beneficial for the stability of food production, but threatens diversity and soil quality in the longer term.

The study into the 'drivers' of both production and use was announced last year, in response to disrupted global grain supplies. The European Commission previously opposed pleas to postpone parts of the Green Deal and farm-to-fork because the food supply is not threatened.

The study published this week focuses on dozens of factors ('drivers') that the researchers say influence the global food supply. The report comes shortly after the EU agriculture ministers again called for additional research, saying they are not satisfied with the results of previous research.

In the study that has now been published, it is stated in a footnote that this report does not replace previous reports.

The working paper further emphasizes that as food becomes scarcer, pressure on soil fertility, climate, biodiversity and water availability increases. If the environmental and climate problem is not tackled quickly, supply bottlenecks could arise, the European Commission emphasizes. The costs of doing nothing are ultimately greater than the costs of greening the food chain. 

The EU committee points to an imminent loss of 9 billion euros in the agricultural sector as a result of the expected drought alone in 2030. Without policy changes, yields in arable farming will fall by 4.5 percent in 2030. With adequate environmental and climate policy, the yield decrease in 2030 will be only 2.4 percent, the study says.

Reducing the use of hazardous pesticides would be important to preserve biodiversity and protect insects. According to the European Commission, this is possible without loss of income. However, this would require alternative active substances to be available and disease-resistant varieties to be marketed using new genomic techniques.