Joint letter I EU agricultural policy should support nutrition-oriented supply chains

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Health organisations recommend three ways to promote nutrition-oriented supply chains as part of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. In a joint letter to the European Commissioner for Agriculture Wojciechowski, they outline why the CAP needs a stronger nutrition dimension and highlight the co-benefits nutrition-sensitive agriculture can deliver.

Promoting healthier diets with more fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts and less meats, and the need to reverse overweight and obesity by 2030, are core pillars of the ‘Farm to Fork Strategy’. Healthy nutrition also features prominently in the upcoming ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’. However, despite the CAP’s new specific objective on food and health, there is a persistent lack of attention to the role the policy can play in promoting nutrition-oriented supply chains.

Such supply chains can deliver important economic, social, environmental and food security co-benefits, for instance through the development of local market infrastructures for fresh produce, the enhancement of urban to peri-urban supply chain linkages and the support for innovative business models involving improved access to healthy products.

The letter recommends three actions:

  1. Add a nutrition indicator to the CAP focused on increasing the supply of, and access to fruit and vegetables in order to guide the development of national CAP Strategic Plans.
  2. Recommend ways to use existing CAP instruments to boost supply chains for healthy products and promote health-oriented business models.
  3. Launch a comprehensive evaluation of the CAP’s impact on, and potential to contribute to public health, including the relationship between agricultural policy, food environments and consumption patterns.

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