Pubblichiamo l’intervento del Dr. Tassos Haniotis al Seminario organizzato il 18 febbraio scorso dal International Food Policy Institute di Washington sul tema: “European Green Deal — Farm to Fork Strategy for Sustainable Food”. Da sottolineare l’importanza assegnata dall’oratore alla innovazione, alla crescita basata sulla conoscenza ed ai servizi di assistenza tecnica agli agricoltori (Redazione FIDAF).
It is a great pleasure to be here today sharing with Jo and Ann a panel chaired by Will. My long professional friendship with all three has as common origin at the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium. Many of the challenges we addressed there and then remain; in fact, in some respects, we seem to have put reverse in the gearbox. Yet other challenges loom larger today, and for these I came to talk to you about.
1. Where is the world food system today?
The world food system is in a state of flux, and the European Union’s food system could be no exception. With “business as usual” no longer a viable option, alternatives to conventional farming and food practices are advanced in the public debate and applied on the ground. Not all such options are applicable everywhere, not all are necessarily sustainable, not all address climate change priorities – especially when viewed from a global, and not just an EU point of view. Yet all such options are reflections of the realisation that we are at the crossroads of a major transformation in the manner by which we address the production, distribution and consumption of food – from Farm to Fork. Even before climate change took centre stage in the EU public debate, it had become clear that, in all basic human needs – food, shelter, clothing, energy, transport – we are rapidly moving from a phase of solving economic and social problems at the expense of the environment towards a phase of potentially solving economic and environmental problems, yet with often increasing social tensions. In the previous phase, whose beginning was characterised by the advent of the “Green Revolution”, food productivity increased rapidly, making food abundant and affordable. Based on breeding, mechanisation and the outflow of labour from farming to booming industrial and service sectors, this process came at a cost, that of significant degradation of soil, water, air and especially in biodiversity, though not all of these environmental problems were driven by farming practices and not all regions around the world face the same problems…