Laura Christopher |
Madrid (EFE) -. With more than 9,000 million people by 2050 “we have to produce more food with fewer resources”, in a scenario in which Ukraine and the pandemic have forced us to reflect on food geopolitics and have put the concept of strategic autonomy on the table in your value chain.
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, defends this in an interview in which he analyzes with Efe the structural issues of 2023, which are fundamentally located in the implementation of the new CAP, the Spanish presidency of the European Union in the second semester and the geopolitical context, marked by the war in Ukraine and its effects on agri-food.
There are those who “think that we have to go towards a decrease in food production, I do not agree with that at all,” he says.
And he argues it: «The increase in the population is added to the war and the covid, which open up another new reflection on what the geopolitics of food production means: communications and foreign trade can be altered, hence the importance of another concept that is that of strategic autonomy».
Impact of the energy market
The impact on the energy or fertilizer market is an example, such as that of cereals, an area in which the European Union (EU) has created a register of “stocks” (also for oilseeds and rice), because “it does not We knew what we had and it is important in a context in which that autonomy must be maintained, ”he details.
And protect producers from the rise in their inputs (energy, raw materials or fertilizers) and consumers from the rise in food prices, for which, he insists, aid has been given to production, measures for diesel and VAT on basic foodstuffs has been abolished and that of oil and pasta has been reduced.
In this regard, and in the face of criticism from the opposition and the lack of support for the aforementioned measures, Planas reflects that “it is simply a question of saying, do you want to support, yes or no? This is a serious moment, a responsible moment and a moment of support”, after remarking that there will be no sustainable food model if there is no profitability for farmers and ranchers.
For the minister, in 2023 “two great crosswinds that were already experienced in 2022 come together: that citizens have quality food at reasonable prices and that its production advances towards a sustainable model over time, using fewer resources and avoiding their loss and waste”.
This last issue is “fundamental” according to Planas, who recalls that the bill on waste will go through Parliament this year and “will be used as inspiration by the European Commission, because we cannot afford 30% of food to be lost . It is a political, economic, social and, it must be said clearly, ethical issue.
Regarding the beginning of the new programming of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2023-2027, he stresses that it is “an opportunity”, it can be “taken advantage of” to gain competitiveness inside and outside the European Union and to find the “necessary balance” between sustainability and farm profitability.
Regarding the eco-regimes, one of the aspects that raises the most doubts and criticism, the minister explains that “it will be a success, because seven agricultural practices have been sought where simple actions can be carried out, so that they receive more aid and at the same time contribute to environmental objectives” and “an advisory and training effort” is being made.
The digital notebook: key to transformation
In the same way, it defends that the new farm information system (SIEX), which includes the digital notebook, is “a key element in the sustainable transformation and digitization of the sector”, which has innovation and technological development, such as gene editing, the key to facing future challenges among which the consequences of climate change stand out.
Issues that will be worked on in the five formal and two informal agricultural councils that Spain will convene during its presidency of the EU in the second half of the year, one of them specific to the fishing sector (in Vigo).
In this period, in addition, the annual negotiation of the tacs (total admissible quotas) and community quotas takes place, and Planas also awaits the final approval in Spain of the law on sustainable fishing and fishing research, in his opinion “an element essential to modernize the sector.
“We are the first fleet in the European Union and we have to do 21st century fishing with 21st century boats and not with those of the 20th”, he assures, after emphasizing that this implies “new, more selective technologies, less energy consumption and increasing safety and comfort; if we want generational relief we need better working conditions on our fishing vessels”.