The most significant drivers of regional agricultural practices are the global market and the subsidies provided by the European Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) which promotes the adoption of intensified and unsustainable agriculture practices.
Many farmers are committed to caring for the environment and making active choices to use greener agricultural methods. But agricultural policy reform is necessary in order to stop harmful practices on a large scale. Financial support to the agricultural sector accounts for almost half of the EU budget. Agricultural policies and subsidies to farmers within the EU have long been obstacles to reaching the goal of a more environmentally friendly agriculture, since they promote practices that are not sustainable.
WWF works successfully with farmers and has built alliances with the agriculture sector and governments in the region, with the aim of development of regional policies such as the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, agricultural policy at national, regional and European levels and EU directives. WWF also works to promote behaviour change in other relevant actors across the food production chain, including daily consumption patterns and product choices.
Farmers are leading the way
To highlight the importance of sustainable farming and promote farmers who contribute to the fight against eutrophication, WWF together with farmers’ organizations around the Baltic Sea, launched the “WWF Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award" in 2009. This is an award showcasing individual farmers taking on their own initiatives best practices in Baltic-Friendly farming to reduce nutrient runoff to the Baltic Sea.