Agriculture Ministers display diverging solutions to challenges facing EU Farming
Water management was a major point of discussion at the Informal Agriculture Council in Nicosia, Cyprus between the 9 and the 11 September, with diverging solutions proposed by Agriculture Ministers to protect natural resources, respond to climate change and limit land abandonment. The meeting which centred round issues concerning food production, renewables and public goods, with an emphasis on climate change, water and soil, saw some member states calling for greater innovation and the use of biotechnologies to address decreasing water supplies and soil degradation. Elsewhere other member states stressed the need to address urban expansion on agricultural land, enhance education and training for farmers and ensure the high quality of water supplies. In a press release the IFOAM EU Group called on European Farm Ministers to ensure that the CAP budget is used effectively to shift towards sustainable food systems, particularly with the current economic crisis and ongoing threat to our natural resources. IFOAM EU also challenged Ministers to recognise potential of organic farming systems to deliver sustainability benefits under the new CAP. At the Agriculture Council on the 24th and 25th September Agriculture Ministers also voiced their concerns about the implementation of new criteria for areas of natural constraint (formerly less favoured areas) under rural development programmes and safety net mechanisms proposed under the reform of the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO).