Marta Zygadlo in Spain
Yesterday, Marta Zygadlo introduced us to Spanish coalition Por Otra PAC. Today we take a look at the coalitions’ priorities and how it plans to push food sovereignty and agroecological transition in Spain. What would an EU agrifood system based on the principles of solidarity, equity and democracy look like?
First, the Coalition calls for a radical rethink of the CAP, first in terms of governance. The new CAP, they argue, needs to designed and implemented with producers and consumers in mind from the very beginning. Por Otra PAC wants to see the CAP built from the bottom up.
They also argue that the CAP must be designed with other relevant policies in mind, thereby maintaining a holistic perspective. It should contribute to other social, environmental, economic and public health objectives. They would like to see a future CAP complemented with all possible tools, such as an environmental tax in favour of organic food, that will ultimately allow for food sovereignty and healthy food for all.
Por Otra PAC strongly advocate for redesign of CAP’s payments system and funding conditions, especially the direct payments model. Currently, the bulk of the Spanish CAP funds favour intensive production and practices which are detrimental to sustainable development in rural areas. The continuing degradation of biodiversity and ecosystems is amplified by the current CAP payment system. Additionally, land speculation and urban expansion hinder access to land, needed to ensure generational renewal in the farming sector. To make matters worse, many land owners in control of the intensive agricultural practices affecting the rural landscape, reside in cities. Por Otra PAC stress that the next CAP must protect small-scale farmers since they may assure continued lively villages.
Consequently Por Otra PAC calls for:
- the removal of subsidies which are detrimental to climate change mitigation, environmental protection and public health. Specifically, they call for an end to direct payments based on historic land claims or which support farming practices which threaten water reserves (Spain’s irrigated area is already larger than the area current water supplies can sustain) or support intensive livestock production.
- both Pillars to ensure the economic feasibility of farms with high socioeconomic value. This means fair income and labor conditions for those who produce healthy and sustainable food, including organic producers, those who work in Natura 2000 protected areas, or those who preserve biodiversity, prevent wildfire or maintain High Nature Value Systems such as extensive and transhumance livestock farming, mountain farming or dehesa among others, which are currently marginalized in the CAP.
- provide design and sufficient funding for new green CAP’s architecture, this should include funding for agroecological transition, rewarding practices beneficial to environment and society and so guaranteeing public goods provision by whole agri-food system.
- reinforced conditional support for payments. Funding should be allocated to those practices which favour the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, including compliance with Water Directive, as well as in accordance with policies of mitigation and adaptability to climate change, ensuring respect for animal wellfare and workers’ health and rights.
- eliminate CAP incentives which distort global trade and negatively affect the Global South.
- specific measures to reduce food waste.
- ensure generational renewal, fight rural depopulation.
In order to encourage the maintenance and development of agroecological production, Por Otra PAC propose
- Land Banks, agroecologically managed. This is to ensure access to land for sustainable producers, especially for women and young people.
- Accessible training, advice and support for those undergoing agroecological transition. This should involve a national network of demonstrative farms that function as agroecological “lighthouses” to share experiences for food sustainability.
- Diversification of activities in rural areas.
- Gender parity in rural areas. This could include promoting shared ownership of farms and assisting families to stay in rural areas.
- Helping farms to minimize their environmental footprint and also improving their resilience to climate change.
- Push measures to improve soil fertility and closed-loop farming based on circular economy principles.
- Promote leguminous crop production and linking crop and livestock production.
These priorities are coupled with intentions to ensure access to fair, healthy and high-quality food to all. Accordingly they
- Encourage the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and legumes, especially from organic production and other sustainable productions, as the basis of a sustainable diet.
- Support food projects and initiatives which promote artisan production and processing and direct sales within small supply chains.
- Promote new business models focused on the social economy, with the creation of shared value chains through cooperatives in which producers and consumers recover the lost leadership and have access to fresh, safe, diverse and nutritionally valuable products.
Finally, Por Otra PAC support the Common Food Policy process, including in particular the Responsible Public Procurement element.
It will be interesting to follow the Coalition’s next steps, particularly how their priorities will align with the objectives of the post-2020 CAP Strategic Plan that Spain is now working on. Recently, Por Otra PAC asked Spanish MEP Clara Anguilera on twitter: What food model and CAP will you defend with you European budget? She responded “Good friends from Por Otra PAC, among yours twenty proposals there are big similarities with what we Spanish socialists defend. I’m glad to debate on them with anyone you want”. It looks like we have some interesting discussions on the cards in the months ahead.