Good Food March


Ask your minister to save Ecological Focus Areas from pesticides!

The "greener and fairer" reform of Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was watered down dramatically, but it has seen the survival of one vital greening measure. Ecological Focus Areas or EFAs should improve the entire agri-ecosystem of a farm and its surrounding landscapes. This is good news for biodiversity and for our food.

EFAs are now under threat, as exemptions and loopholes that would permit the use of synthetic pesticides and mineral fertilisers have surfaced. What’s more, agricultural ministers of 23 Member States* sent a letter to the Commission to allow in the CAP implementing rules agricultural production on all EFAs without excluding pesticides and fertilisers.

A final decision is expected by March 2014.

You still have time to influence your minister for agriculture. Below you can find a letter template. Whether or not your country is amongst the 23 signatories, it is important to inform your minister that pesticides don’t belong in Ecological Focus Areas!

Take action today: email your minister!

Download your template letter here ....



Background Information and why it is important to save Ecological Focus Areas from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers:


At first, the CAP reform looked promising in making the policy fairer, greener and more social. However, by the time the final deal was decided in November 2013, almost none of the original ambitions were left. Instead, it was business as usual.

There was however a beacon of hope as one vital greening measure survived agribusiness lobbyists, endless council meetings and made it through the European Parliament’s final vote: it is called Ecological Focus Areas or EFAs.

It means that as a condition for receiving 30% of direct payments, Europe’s farmers will be obliged to dedicate a minimum of 5% of their arable spaces to EFAs. These are fallow land, hedgerows, trees, buffer strips, afforested and agro-forestry areas, and measures such as catch crops and winter green cover. The idea is to leave these areas free of pesticides, fertilisers and free from intensive farming so that vital processes such as pollination, soil formation and improved water regulation, and nutrient cycles can occur. This in return will improve biodiversity as EFAs provide animals including bees, butterflies and dragonflies, beetles, worms and even small birds with an improved diet and habitat. In this way, EFAs should boost and benefit the entire ecosystem of a farm, its surrounding landscapes and last but not least, thus contribute to our food security.

EFAs are now under threat! As the European Commission is writing into law the CAP’s final texts, several exemptions and loopholes have surfaced. One such loophole could permit the use of synthetic or toxic pesticides and fertilisers for nitrogen-fixing crops grown on EFAs. This is a cause for concern as this stage is supposed to be about just formalising what has already been agreed during the CAP reform process.

Not wanting to leave things to chance, agribusiness lobbyists at the same time convinced agricultural ministers of 23 Member States* to send a letter to the Commission to allow under CAP implementing rules agricultural production on all EFAs without excluding pesticides and fertilisers.

Worried by these developments, several of the EU’s most authoritative conservation and farming NGOs submitted an open letter in late January 2014 to Mr Dacian Cioloș the EU’s Commissioner for Agriculture.

A final decision is expected to be taken by March 2014.

*Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.

Action Materials

1. Download your new Facebook cover image in English or Romanian to tell all your friends about this action.

2. Here you can download banners in different sizes and shapes which you can use as webanners when you hyperlink them to this link, screensavers etc. 250 x 250300 x 300 , 720 x 300728 x 90952 x 192

3. Tweet about the action! Here are some of our suggestions...

  • Ask your minister to save #EcologicalFocusAreas from #pesticides! Here's why and how: cc @arc2020eu
  • #Pesticides don't belong in #EcologicalFocusAreas. Ask your Agri minister to keep them out! Here's how cc @arc2020eu
  • 1. download the letter 2. send a quick email 3. help keep #pesticides out of #EcologicalFocusAreas cc @arc2020eu