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A meeting of the AGRI Committee took place on Tuesday, 5 November 2019 with Norbert Lins (EPP, DE) in the Chair.
Points 6 and 7 were dedicated to the presentation of the work of the policy department for structural and cohesion policies and a presentation of study of this department on the “Megatrends in the agri-food sector : global overview and possible policy response from an EU perspective” which was presented by Ms Pesce from VVA (Valdani, Vicari & Associati, Italy) and, for the Questions§Answers part, by Mr. Traon (Arcadia, Belgium).
In their interventions, MEPs inquired in particular on the different scenarios envisaged by the study and their impact on food systems as well as the related policy implications for the CAP. Among the many issues raised by the study (from demography to production to trade to environment protection, consumption patterns and disruptive innovations in the food chain), questions focused in particular on the role of agriculture in climate change (both as a cause and a victim) and how farmers could become part of the solution, the impact of trade on farming systems, the food-waste problem and the digital agriculture (including the need for agriculture to adopt new technologies and production methods and the digital divide between urban and rural areas). While most Members were supportive of the approach adopted by the study and were thankful for the data provided, some interventions pointed to the need to take more into consideration the consumers’needs and the impact of the ongoing changes on farmers (regarding notably the declining number of farms and the farm income).
The main conclusions of the study:
– the world faces a huge challenge to feed itself over the coming decades, as the world population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. A 50 % increase in food production (as compared to present levels) will be needed by this date to feed an additional 2.3 billion people.
– the agri-food sector also faces environmental challenges, as food production is the largest cause of global environmental change (agriculture occupies 40 % of global land, is responsible for 21 % of global greenhouse-gas emissions and consumes 70 % of water).
– the agri-food sector will thus have to adapt to this increasing food demand while at the same time addressing sustainability and health challenges. Against this background the study outlines four alternative and contrasting scenarios that could shape the future of the food sector in the coming decades:
. Scenario 1 “Small steps but no goals achieved”
. Scenario 2 “Mass production at all cost”
. Scenario 3 “Local survivors”
. Scenario 4 “Food and sustainability for all”
Watch video of the event (with multilingual interpretation):
Further reading: Megatrends in the agri-food sector: global overview and possible policy response from an EU perspective