Innovation in European agriculture

In the face of a growing world population expected to reach 9 billion in 2050, global food production will have to increase by 70% according to the FAO, the United Nations agency for food and agriculture. As one of the biggest world food producers and importers, the EU has a key role to play.

Hands holding fruits

Increased agricultural productivity needs to ensure ecosystem services and the preservation of natural resources and biodiversity through resource efficiency. One of the components of the draft IUCN Global Programme 2013-2016 focuses on deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges such as climate change, food security and development.

A dinner debate on 24 January explored innovation for sustainable agriculture and enabled participants to exchange thoughts and ideas. “Innovation in agriculture is not only a case of technology transfer”, said Dr Hans Friederich, IUCN Regional Director for Europe, “but also an opportunity to develop more sustainable ways of managing land”. More sustainable management of High Nature Value farmland is essential if we want to maintain a healthy environment, and this will require new ways of thinking and acting for many farmers. Monitoring the impacts of farming on biodiversity was mentioned by a number of people as an important issue as well.

Sue Collins from Butterfly Conservation Europe agreed that “Policy innovations are required with new approaches which stimulate farmer collaboration at the landscape level and to provide greater incentives to good biodiversity and farm management”. Other environmental issues raised during the debate included the need to reduce pesticide residue and combat greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production.

The meeting was organized by the European Parliament Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development and hosted by MEP Louis Manuel Capoulas Santos.

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