Framing the future priorities of agriculture

A COPA-COGECA Press Release:

ASAJA, COPA-COGECA, ECPA, hold photo exhibition, outline priorities for the future of agriculture

Brussels - 24th March

Asaja, co-partnered by Copa-Cogeca and ECPA, held a cocktail reception in the European Parliament for the launch of a photo exhibition on the new Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020: Future for farmers, future for society and outlined priorities for the future.

The photo competition was launched in 2013 and winning entries from the competition are being exhibited in European Parliament portraying modern images of agriculture, thanks to the CAP. The photo exhibition is being hosted by Chairman of the Agriculture Committee MEP Paolo de Castro and the event is supported by DG Agri.

Speaking at the event, President of Asaja Sevilla Riccardo Arias Serra and Copa Vice-President stressed “We have been working hard to show our citcizens the importance of the CAP and the role played by farmers. We are proud of the fact that the last Eurobarometer showed that 92% of European are aware of the importance of agriculture for the European Union. I hope that that with this project we have contributed to raise this awareness”.

ECPA Director-General Jean-Charles Bocquet said “European agriculture faces huge challenges, not just in the coming decades but in the coming few years. With a rapidly growing global population, we must ensure that European farmers remain productive and competitive. That means we need a political landscape that fosters innovation rather than discourages it. At ECPA, we have a clear vision for how the new CAP can address the needs of farmers and of consumers, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to achieve it.”

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “Communication to citizens on the benefits of the CAP and of the valuable work farmers do is vital and this communication campaign has been a great success. We feel that the pictures tell a story about the optimism in the farming community, especially the winning prize, of a family farm taken in the vineyard which has been passed down for generations. Family farms and agri-cooperatives play a crucial role, being the driver of rural economies, and producing quality food which respects high animal welfare and environmental standards. This exhibition takes place at an important time in the legislative process.” He presented our manifesto for the Parliament elections. We urge European Parliament to maximise the huge potential of the European agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries sectors. They benefit the economy, the environment, growth and employment especially in EU rural areas and ensure quality food supplies for consumers across the world. The EU’s agri-food chain is the biggest economic sector, creating growth and jobs and employing over 40 million people from the input industries to farming, processing, marketing and sales which has knock-on effects on other sectors. It helps member states to overcome the current economic crisis. At the same time, it provides annual EU-28 production worth over 400 billion euros. With world food demand expected to climb by 60% by 2050, and resources scarce, Copa-Cogeca urges candidates in the European Parliament elections to campaign for the maintenance of a European agriculture sector that is: sustainable, competitive, resource efficient.

To achieve this, investment in the sector must be stepped up significantly, research and innovation encouraged. The food chain also needs to work better to enable farmers to get a better return from the market. In addition, fair and balanced bilateral free trade agreements are crucial. We urge MEPs to maximise the potential of the agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries sectors, including the bioeconomy, in providing additional sources of income for farmers and creating new business opportunities.

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