Agriculture and fisheries, general discussion

I think our current agriculture and fisheries programme is our weakest, and because the other post seemed to be a bit more narrow in scope I hope you don’t mind me starting a new thread.

These are my thoughts on our current Agriculture and Fisheries programme:

Aspects of Land Use

As land is becoming a limited resource, Pirates demand the following:

  • Property of land shall be more committed to social and natural welfare.
    This makes no sense to me. Perhaps it could be rewritten to be clearer, or perhaps it really is meaningless?
  • To enhance resilience, Pirates want to preserve and develop small scale farming and subsistence agriculture.

What qualifies as “small scale” varies enormously between countries, and small scale farming is no guarantee for resilience. Subsistence agriculture, i.e. not producing excess food, is antithetical to resilience, and would require everyone to become a farmer or starve.

  • Urban and suburban agriculture and gardening need to be encouraged to reduce transport, supply nutrition, spread knowledge, satisfy human needs.

Urban and suburban agriculture are fine ideas, but should be able to support their own costs, primarily the cost of land in urban areas. We should absolutely permit urban and suburban farming, but it should not be preferentially subsidized to any other form of farming.

Using Biological Diversity

The Pirates support:

  • The baseline ‘no patents on life’ must be strictly realized.

Agreed. Connects strongly to pirate politics.

  • Exports of a European surplus food products into third countries must be reassessed, if they may damage the markets for local food.

I too am skeptical to food exports, but I would consider them more of a symptom than a cause. Specifically, a symptom of over-subsidized EU food being cheaper than local food.

  • In trade agreements with third countries, the EU shall avoid unfair trade practices based on its trade power.

Being fair seems like a nice sentiment. How is the EU being unfair currently?

  • Fishing quotas must be adjusted according to the scientifically evident sustainability.
  • The European programme to combat illegal fisheries must be strengthened.

Sensible. Should be rephrased to be independent of the current situation.

  • We want farmers to crop in smaller fields without heavy machinery.

I don’t. Large fields and heavy machines are very efficient, meaning more food per liter of tractor fuel. Risks of monoculture is better managed in other ways, such as not growing the same crop in adjacent fields, or changing what crops are being grown year-to-year.

  • The soil bonification based on the organic matter level and water holding capacity should be established.

I don’t understand what this means. I don’t expect voters to either. What is soil bonification? What does it mean for it to be established?

Use of technology and digital solutions

Pirates will work towards these goals:

  • The EU shall establish the frame for open access to digital applications and open interfaces.
  • Publicly funded data on, for example, climate, weather, soil, and water must be easily accessible for the public. The EU must ensure that any such datasets which have been obtained by using proprietary technologies will not pass into private hands.

This is fine too.

The stated purpose of the Common Agrigultural Policy is according to Article 39 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union:

  • to increase productivity, by promoting technical progress and ensuring the optimum use of the factors of production, in particular labour;
  • to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural Community;
  • to stabilize markets;
  • to secure availability of supplies;
  • to provide consumers with food at reasonable prices.

Relating to those purposes, I would argue that the pirate solution would be to award subsidies (composing nearly half of the EU:s budget) in a manner of diminishing returns or simply capped, so that monopolists like Agrofert aren’t rewarded.

Another related change I’d propose is to heavily reduce the subsidies for livestock, and require that any recipient limit their use of antibiotics to actual treatment of sick animals, to reduce the risk of bacteria developing antibiotics resistance.

We may work together on this thread : WIP : Summary of the Pirate Parties programs - #6 by pr02