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Agriculture and food: a new vision is needed

Medaweek Barcelona 2021, the week of Mediterranean economic leaders, will dedicate one of its summits to the world of agriculture and food: the 1st Mediterranean meeting of Agriculture and Food is scheduled on November 17 from 17.00 to 18.30 at Casa Llotja de Mar, in Barcelona. It will be an opportunity to address important issues such as investment in sustainable agriculture, the construction of a food production always based on sustainability and typical Mediterranean and resistant to climatic factors, and the revival of the Mediterranean diet.

Agricultural production is one of the pillars of the economy, representing 3% of world GDP and almost 30% of global employment. However, agricultural markets are unstable, reacting to speculative forecasts by operators, with price variations, as happened in 1986, 1996 or 2008. Strong price increases trigger riots and riots among consumers, as well as high income instability for producers: agro-food SMEs and farms.

In 2020, this situation has even been more complicated by the closure of borders to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity, which already affects almost 40% of the world’s population due to lack of food or its poor quality, is much more compromised without the proper functioning of supply chains and public health.

It is time for efficient approaches. Heritage diets, such as the Mediterranean Diet, must form the basis for the construction of regional food systems, based on proximity, solidarity and autonomy, and therefore, more resistant to economic and social, health or climate crises.

In 2019, global agricultural startups invested nearly $ 20 billion in FoodTech. In the Mediterranean, the challenge is to promote modern, competitive, global and resource-sustainable agriculture in order to increase the attractiveness of the sector and offer employment opportunities to young people in a technology-dependent labour market.

A new vision and association of the agricultural and food sector in the Mediterranean is urgent, based on joint development networks, which help to overcome current and future crises.

It is urgent to promote measures to reactivate the agro-food sector and avoid its suffocation, but it is also imperative to lay the foundations for a new model of sustainable development. It is time, finally, to make courageous decisions.

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