Agriculture & Agribusiness
Agriculture has always been at the heart of European politics and initially, the EU budget used to fund mainly agriculture. In the EU almost 50% of the territory is covered by farmland (both arable land and permanent grassland). Agriculture therefore plays a key role in land management and has a huge responsibility in the preservation of natural resources. Agriculture and food related industries and services provide over 44 million jobs in the EU, including regular work for 20 million people within the agricultural sector itself. EU agricultural policy covers a wide range of areas, including food quality, traceability, trade and promotion of EU farm products.
The Agribusiness sector includes agrichemicals, breeding, crop production, distribution, farm machinery, processing, and seed supply, as well as marketing and retail sales. EU regulation has had a major impact on these businesses, notably in the crop protection/agrichemicals field in recent years.
Trade with third countries has become a major issue for the Agriculture & Agribusiness sector. Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a country known as the ‘breadbasket of Europe’, is raising fears of a global food crisis, further exacerbating existing food security challenges worldwide. Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski has emphasised that, in the light of the situation in Ukraine, ‘agriculture has become a crucial security policy’.
Moreover, the cost of animal feed, fertiliser and fuel has soared for farmers across Europe as Russia’s invasion of its neighbour squeezes grain supplies and sends the price of energy and other inputs rocketing. Hence, agriculture and agribusiness has become a top EU policy concern, and the sector has been very active at EU level this year.