“We are running out of planet”, said Jonathan Foley, Director Institute on the Environment (University of Minnesota). “But”, he continued, “we can feed the world and sustain the planet. It is possible to double food availability and halve environmental damage. We are simply not setting the right priorities. We need to change our attitude. What we are, needs to change to what we could be.”
ABN AMRO, ForFarmers, Lely Group and Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) joined their forces to raise awareness with this leading agricultural event. The symposium brought together scientists, trend watchers, visionary farmers and market specialists to contribute with their visions and experiences.
Professor Jaap van Duijn presented the economist’s view on agriculture. Jaap explained there is no lack of capital in our global economy. Interest rates are at a record low. “There is more capital available than the world can absorb. If an agricultural business presents a profitable plan, investors will be willing to fund it. What a farmer has to keep in mind are the future trends in agriculture: diversification, efficiency and sustainability”, said Van Duijn.
Minimising food waste represents a substantial improvement and is perhaps the most obvious solution, according to Pierre Berntsen, Director Agricultural Companies at ABN AMRO. “Each year about EUR 180 billion is wasted on the way from the field to the plate, due to losses with harvesting, storage and processing and wastage by consumers, packed food that is thrown directly into the waste bin. Major gains can be made by better harvesting and storage methods and also better cooperation in the food chain.”
As the programme was finished, many visitors spontaneously declared this event as a ‘wake up call’ for them. Feeding 9 billion people is a global challenge, but everyone has a responsibility in this.
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Aad Jan Roos, Marketing & Communications Lely Group
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