EU farm leaders call for big increase in agricultural investment

EU FARMING representatives have called on Governments to ‘step up’ international agricultural research to help farmers meet the global food security challenge.

Speaking at a conference in Denmark on Tuesday, Pekka Pesonen, secretary-general of EU umbrella farming body Copa-Cogeca said over a billion people in the world remain in hunger today. He said international efforts should focus on ensuring a ‘substantial increase’ in agricultural investment.

“Rising world demand for food, combined with increasing constraints on land and water, as well as climate change, will not make things any easier.  Achieving food security and stability in a sustainable way will be a major global challenge over the coming years.  It will be important to work together internationally as called for by G20 leaders at their summit at the end of 2011”, he told the conference on Trade, Development and Agriculture.

He said United Nations Rio+20 Conference in June 2012 should look to reinforce the institutional framework for sustainable development.

He added commitments made in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations and policy pushed by other major international bodies should ‘help rather than hinder attempts to achieve food security, sustainability and greater rural prosperity’.

“Trade policy must not be allowed to dictate domestic agricultural policies or ignore non-trade concerns,” he said.

But he said that the best way to reduce hunger and provide food security was by ‘ensuring that farmers all around the world obtain a better return for their produce’.

In this context, reform of the Common Agricultural Policy must look to reinforce farmers positioning in the food chain via the development of producer organisations such as cooperatives.

“Better coherence is also needed between EU policies and development goals and internally within the EU between the CAP and EU trade policy,” he concluded.

The conference was organised by Concord Denmark and the Danish Agriculture and Food Council in Copenhagen. Denmark currently holds the presidency of the EU.

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