The transformation of our food production system has been at the top of our agenda since the President's political guidelines in July.
But the pandemic has brought into sharper focus the importance of a resilient food system and food security, given the strong links between our health, ecosystems and supply chains.
This is just the latest reminder of many: annual droughts, floods, forest fires and new pests, are alarm bells that our food system must become more sustainable and resilient.
Today we are presenting our vision to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume our food, and to improve our health and our environment.
At a time of deep societal and economic crisis, Farm to Fork and Biodiversity are the strongest sign of commitment from us to the Green Deal and sustainability agenda.
Why is this Strategy so special?
First, because it is the first time in the history of EU food policy that we propose a comprehensive agenda for all stages of food production - but looking particularly from the point of view of the consumer and the producer, and putting them at the centre of our focus.
For this reason - second - sustainability becomes a growth strategy: this is what our citizens increasingly demand - nutritious food which is healthy and is produced in a way which is respectful towards our planet. That is why this is also a recovery strategy both for the short and the long term.
Third, it is a health and prevention strategy against further crises. Reversing the rise in obesity rates and change of consumption patterns across the EU is critical - for the health of our citizens and continent but also for our resilience to pandemics.
Food systems are key drivers of climate change and environmental degradation. In the EU, agriculture is responsible for 10.3% of the greenhouse gas emissions. The Farm to Fork Strategy is thus crucial for delivering the European Green Deal.
That is why sustainability is a growth strategy.
It is also an opportunity for Europe's farmers, fishermen and women and food producers to become global leaders in sustainability and guarantee the future of the EU food chain.
First movers will have the competitive advantage, globally.
Today we present no less than 27 concrete actions to transform our food system.
We will take action to protect our environment by curbing the use and risk of pesticides in agriculture by 50%, and also reduce the use of fertilisers by at least 20%. We will revise EU legislation on the sustainable use of pesticides and promote alternative ways of protecting harvests from pests and diseases.
We will also take action to increase the size of EU's agricultural land dedicated to organic farming to at least 25%.
We will also reduce the use of antibiotics in farming and aquaculture by 50%.
These ambitious targets need to be reached by 2030.
We will also act to reduce food loss and waste, step up our fight against food fraud, and strengthen animal welfare rules.
For our citizens, it is about making the healthy and sustainable choice the obvious choice. In Europe today, more than half of the population is overweight or obese.
To provide clear information and empower consumers to make healthy, sustainable choices, we will propose harmonised mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling within 2 years.
This vision is not only European - it is global. Through Farm to Fork, we embark on promoting a global transition to sustainable food systems through partnerships and “green alliances”.
All transitions have a cost - but the cost of inaction would be even greater for all of us.
The Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy will support our primary producers through new streams of funding and eco-schemes to implement sustainable practices.
Because without prospering farmers, we will not ensure food security. Without a healthy planet, farmers will have nowhere to farm.
I have always said that this is not the Commission's Plan, this is Europe's Plan.
The Farm to Fork Strategy will ensure that, together, we will emerge with a more robust, secure, and sustainable food system. And more importantly, healthier citizens on a greener, more sustainable planet.