Farm ministers of the G20 group have agreed a draft ‘action plan’ on food security and sustainable food systems, with European farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, telling the recent gathering in Istanbul that “Europe stands ready to play its part”.
According to a final communiqué, G20 farm ministers are united in their commitment to “meet the challenge of global food security and nutrition for an expected world population of nine billion by 2050”.
“We stress that intensifying pressures on natural resources and biodiversity and the impacts of climate change mean that we should raise productivity while moving towards food systems that are more sustainable in all their dimensions – economic and social as well as environmental – and in particular minimise food loss and waste,” said the communiqué.
Meeting such a goal would require responsible investment in sustainable and resilient food systems, designed to raise productivity to expand food supplies.
Speaking on behalf of EU producers, Commissioner Hogan told the meeting that Europe has a “deep well of experience in shared agricultural governance” and that the newly reformed Common Agricultural Policy was designed to be “more dynamic and market oriented” than ever before.
“As a result we have seen considerable investment and innovation flowing into agri-businesses,” he said. “Our goal is to consistently and sustainably produce high quality product for consumers the world over. We believe this makes sense, and that our policies will deliver food security, incentivise waste reduction, nurture the environment, but also – crucially – demonstrate that working in agriculture can be good business, particularly for younger people.”
However, while stating that giving farmers the freedom to participate in the global market will serve all the G20 goals, Commissioner Hogan added: “Let me be clear, the subsidies and protectionism of another era are gone, and we must all adapt to the 21st Century accordingly, and with confidence.
Nonetheless, targeted measures can incentivise farmers to play their part in our shared ambitions. Intelligent policy and sound governance can be real catalysts for change, and many of the instruments already employed by the G20 are entirely fit for this purpose – the challenge for us is to develop them in full, and expand them where appropriate.”
Central to such action, he added, was the promotion of knowledge-based agriculture, strengthened research and innovation and the bridging of communication gaps between farmers, researchers and agribusiness.
“Agriculture has always been an innovative sector, but the global food imperatives are now of such a magnitude that we need to innovate more, and innovate faster,” he said. “Agriculture must continue to become more productive and more efficient, a model we are currently pursuing with vigour and determination in the EU.”
The nations of the G20 represent 65% of all agricultural land, 77% of global cereal production and 80% of world trade in agricultural products.