PUBLIC AWARENESS of sustainable food security is one of the big challenges for the sector according to Dacian Ciolos, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture.
In a speech made to professionals in Milan, Ciolos highlighted the importance of develop consumers’ understanding of the issues:
"Farming takes time, long-term investment, and ongoing political will. Farming cannot at the same time be subject to market fluctuations and to inconsistent policy that depends on the turbulence of current events, on its media profile and on what happens to be fashionable," he said.
"When 805 million people are still undernourished; until we have the means to feed a constantly growing world population, which will soon reach 9 or even 11 billion; when it remains so difficult to generate and maintain added value in rural areas, both in developing and in developed countries. Farming is and will remain the bedrock of rural economies.
"Our fellow citizens must understand the real difficulty of meeting the global food challenge. Raising their awareness contributes directly to our efforts to fight food insecurity, and to promote sustainable production and healthy, balanced diets."
Since 2009, at international level and in Europe, work has been ongoing to put farming back at the centre of priorities through EU's development funds.
Ciolos said eight billion euros should be made available between 2014 and 2020 to support sustainable, productive farming, with around 60 beneficiary countries.
"Let us be clear: the challenge, both in Europe and elsewhere in the world, is and will remain to keep up the efforts that have been started, including in budgetary terms – and to boost them where necessary. There can be no real project for farming without strong, consistent public policy that addresses all the issues facing different types of farming throughout the world, such as:
- developing production by disseminating existing farming skills and innovation;
- adapting to and combating climate change using farming as a lever;
- developing added value and sustainability of agricultural jobs, which are a source of rural development, not least by better integrating small farms into the markets.
"However, Europe as a continent is not immune from the food challenge. Developing and even maintaining Europe's production capacity remains a challenge and a key strategic goal.