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The Northern Netherlands’ Vision on the Farm-to-Fork Strategy: Focussing on a Future-Oriented Policy Together

02 September 2021

The Northern Netherlands’ Vision on the Farm-to-Fork Strategy: Focussing on a Future-Oriented Policy Together

On September 9, the Agricultural and Environmental Committees of the European Parliament will vote on the Farm-to-Fork strategy which the European Commission presented a year ago. This strategy aims to complement various goals stemming from the Green Deal, such as tackling climate change, ensuring healthy, affordable, and sustainable food, and protecting the environment and biodiversity.

The Northern Netherlands supports these goals wholeheartedly and wants to actively contribute to this transition. The Northern Netherlands is a major agricultural area in the Netherlands, where more than two-thirds of the land area is used for agriculture. This is why the region plays a crucial role in the food supply of the Netherlands, Europe, and across the world. By focussing on nature-inclusive circular agriculture, maintaining the food supply can go hand in hand with achieving the goals from the Green Deal.

In order to most effectively shape the Farm-to-Fork strategy, the Northern Netherlands’ administrators have promoted ideas and solutions from the region itself to the Dutch representatives in Brussels: both in the European Parliament and in the Dutch Permanent Representation.

Economic model

For example, Groningen Regional Minister Henk Staghouwer has emphasised that the transition to sustainable forms of agriculture must be accompanied by a sustainable economic revenue model for farmers. Henk Staghouwer says the following: “The European Committee, as well as the Northern Netherlands, is committing to sustainability with the Farm-to-Fork strategy. In the Northern Netherlands, nature-inclusive agriculture is accompanied by a sustainable revenue model that enables farmers to receive fair prices for their products. This needs to be a key point in the transition to sustainable forms of agriculture.”

Local knowledge

According to Regional Minister Klaas Fokkinga (Friesland), it is of the utmost importance that the farmers’ knowledge is used to achieve the intended results: “Each region in Europe deals with unique circumstances. Farmers themselves are best able to determine which measures will have the desired effects in their region. The strategy needs to provide space for this knowledge, and in doing so not just focus on organic farming, but also on other forms of sustainable agriculture, such as nature-inclusive circular agriculture.”

Quality of life

Regional Minister Henk Jumelet (Drenthe) affirms the importance of having a strong agriculture for the quality of life of the countryside: “The presence of a strong agriculture contributes to much more than just economic development. In the Northern Netherlands and many other regions within Europe, farmers have a crucial role in the quality of life of the region. It is of great importance that the European Union puts the quality of life of the countryside central in improving the sustainability of agriculture. The Farm-to-Fork strategy can help to achieve European goals in the field of regional development.”

The Northern Netherlands is following the vote in the Agricultural and Environmental Committees with great interest and hopes that the European Parliament will dedicate itself to the priorities mentioned above. In the coming years, we will actively contribute to a future-focussed policy!