A greener Europe at the expense of Africa? Why the EU must address the external implications of the Farm to Fork Strategy

Koen Dekeyser and Sean Woolfrey analyse the effects of the EU's Farm to Fork Strategy in countries outside Europe – in Africa in particular. 

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    The Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) is the European Union’s ambitious policy framework to promote a more sustainable and resilient European food system and support a global transition to sustainable food systems. Recent studies suggest that effectively pursuing the F2F’s quantified environmental targets, as well as related targets in the European Green Deal’s Biodiversity Strategy, will result in reduced agricultural production in Europe.

    This in turn will likely lead to increased European agricultural imports and reduced exports. Such changes could contribute to higher international food prices and increased global food insecurity. Africa, with its fast-growing population, changing diets and increasing reliance on food imports, is likely to be particularly affected. Lower European agricultural production could also lead to increasing agricultural production outside Europe. Depending on how and where it takes place, this shift in agricultural production could generate increased greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss, undermining the F2F’s global sustainability objectives.

    To better align the F2F’s European and global sustainability ambitions, the European Union needs to make full use of its various policy instruments – including trade policy, investment facilitation, development assistance and international diplomacy – to support efforts by developing countries to improve the sustainability and resilience of their own food systems. Particular attention should be given to supporting a transition to sustainable food systems in Africa, given the severe challenges facing that continent’s food systems.

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