4th Forum for the Future of Agriculture: Syngenta calls for a holistic approach in the food chain to further improve sustainable agriculture
15 March 2011, The Square, Brussels
Today’s 4th Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) in Brussels was themed “Refocusing security on food and nature – CAP renewal for better farming”. The Forum brought together more than 1,000 delegates from politics, regulatory bodies, agri-food industry, NGOs and consumer groups. Participants highlighted that the CAP should be strengthened and better targeted to meet consumer demand for safe, affordable, high quality food that is produced in a more sustainable way.
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer John Atkin joined the event, alongside EU Commissioners Ciolos and Potocnik. He spoke in a session about sustainability in the food chain.
Atkin stated that it is a challenge for all players in the food chain to provide better knowledge and technology, higher finance and more equitable and predictable supply contracts. This will help the farmer to more effectively manage their business and to further improve the sustainability of agriculture. He highlighted that everyone in the food chain will have to take greater responsibility and that strengthening the role of the farmer will be key. Atkin said: “European farmers have been very successful in consistently producing high quality affordable food. With recent increases in food prices, it is vital that they continue to maximize productivity. Yet society rightly demands that food is produced in a more environmentally sustainable way. Sustainable intensive agriculture – effectively growing more from less – is the best way to do this but farmers must have access to the right technology and know-how. All those who have a relationship with the farmer including technology providers and the food chain must align their strategies to this goal and ensure farmers are properly rewarded for their work.”
He added: “Government has a critical role to play too and I am encouraged by the communication on the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, which goes in this direction. However, all stakeholders need to be concerned by extreme precaution in EU regulatory processes which can needlessly deprive farmers of safe technologies needed to maximize productivity in a sustainable way.”
The 4th Forum for the Future of Agriculture was organized through a partnership between Syngenta and the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO). Keynote addresses were given by the European Commissioners Dacian Ciolos (Agriculture and Rural Development) and Janez Potocnik (Environment) as well as by Lester Brown, Founder and President of the Earth Policy Institute. Other speakers included: Paolo de Castro, MEP, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development; George Lyon, MEP, Author of the European Parliament’s First Opinion on the reform of the CAP; Mairead McGuinness, MEP, Member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director, European Environment Agency.