CEJA president and winegrower Diana Lenzi addressed EU agriculture ministers this week during the informal AGRIFISH Council meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, on the topic of ensuring food security and the role of EU agriculture and food industry in sustainable global food production.

She emphasised the need to shift mental approaches to make food security and food sustainability part of a holistic and complementary strategy.

The outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the summer of severe droughts, recent climate catastrophes in Pakistan and high inflation on the markets – recent circumstances have severely impacted producers’ margins, consumers’ access to food, and global resilience, according to the group which represents young farmers.

CEJA has expressed solidarity with Ukraine, its people and its farmers, as well as with all the communities worldwide currently facing food shortages and challenges to their food security.

CEJA on food systems

CEJA has said that food systems are not to be taken for granted adding that food security and food sustainability must not be seen as antagonist topics but as part of a holistic and complementary strategy built collectively beyond EU and national borders.

The group said the aim is now to shape the food system of tomorrow – where food security is guaranteed for all, where food systems overall are more sustainable and resilient, and where the community of farmers working to achieve these high objectives is enabled to do so.

Lenzi emphasised that “as a young farmer representative organisation, CEJA is concerned that current difficulties and uncertainties may alter the vocation and willingness of young people to set up in agriculture”.

Calling ministers to action, she added: “Our degree of resilience will come from our success or failure to make our food system more sustainable, and our capacity to fill the investment gap currently at play in agriculture.

“In order for farmers to be part of the transformation, while maintaining food security for all, we need to demonstrate that there is a future in farming.”

Member states must address the current socio-economic, environmental and vocational crisis by giving the right tools to farmers, according to CEJA.

Such tools must include risks management instruments, knowledge and skills, as well as the appropriate regulatory and financial frameworks to seize every innovation and development – from carbon farming to New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), the group added.

The foreseen Framework Initiative for an EU Sustainable Food System and Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) national Strategic Plans are central in this regard.

“With these conditions aligned, we will be able to build not only the next six months, but the next 10 years of EU agriculture,” the organisation stated.