1st Policy Brief
Food production is considered one the primary drivers of climate change, with the agricultural sector responsible for up to 18.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions1. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, soil erosion induced by traditional agriculture is expected to lead to water scarcity and a crop yield diminishment of up to 50%. Considering current socio-demographic trends, traditional agricultural practices will thus not suffice to help feed the world, reach climate mitigation targets2 or prevent further biodiversity losses.
In light of these alarming figures, the European Commission has identified sustainable agriculture and food systems as well as biodiversity preservation as paramount in recent EU action plans such as the EU Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy and the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
Yet, the new proposals for reforms of the current Common Agricultural Policy and its subsidies for European agriculture are still insufficiently linked to ecological or regenerative practices and heavily rely on intensive output-oriented mechanisms and structures (e.g. hectare-based direct payments to farmers, low consumer prices), which eventually keep unsustainable agricultural schemes afloat3.
The European Union and national governments would greatly benefit from the inclusion and promotion of often disregarded alternatives, especially that of Regenerative Agriculture. We present a set of recommendations aimed at emphasizing the utmost importance of such regenerative agricultural practices, and fostering its mainstreaming into vocational education for farmers.