The EU’s Green Deal could see a drastic reduction in food imports to the region, which would heavily affect South Africa’s fresh produce industry. The Green Deal is a set of policy initiatives that aims to make the region climate-neutral by 2050. South African producers of crops that are already grown in the EU will be hardest hit by the scaling back of imports, as the deal seeks to focus on EU-grown produce to reduce transport emissions.
Stephanie Wunder, coordinator for food systems at the Ecologic Institute in Germany, said the deal sought to address social and economic issues, alongside environmental sustainability. This meant that food production regulations would also take into account responsible business practices and labor laws.
Farmersweekly.co.za quoted her as saying: “The laws will initially be implemented in the EU, and will then [later] cover imports as well to level the playing field. The key focus areas include a 50% reduction in chemical pesticides, a 25% conversion to organically produced food, a reduction in plastic packaging, and a greater focus on sourcing food locally.”
“I foresee that food imports to the EU will reduce in years to come. While the [region] can be self-sufficient in the calories we need, our diets would change drastically if we were to rely only on local production. So, I don’t believe all imports would be cut, but we certainly can’t be as reliant on imported food as we have been in the past,” she added.