Considering that 75 percent of the world's poor depend 100 percent on agriculture, the Forum held at the Universal Exhibition was an opportunity to discuss the challenges related to agriculture. The European Union, for years, has been involved in the protection of agricultural land, protecting small farmers and promoting the application of technological innovations. For two days the delegates discussed concrete actions to increase the resilience and sustainability of agricultural systems in every part of the planet. Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, stressed the importance of the political role that has allowed Europe to make progress in the last 50 years.
Could this international forum be an opportunity to make progress on issues related to agriculture? What do you expect from this meeting?
What I think is that first of all Minister Martina deserves great credit for bringing together over 140 delegations from all over the world to discuss a global problem: providing food for the increasing populations of the world, which we expect will reach 9 billion by 2050, so it’s everybody’s business to make sure that food security is a key political issue in the years ahead.
We posed the same question to Federica Mogherini: Do you think that in future we can talk about a European food? Can you imagine that in the near future, Europe can be proud of its agricultural market and its products? Will there be a European label or something similar?
I think a lot of people don’t realize that after the Second World War we had people in Europe who were starving, who had need for food, and that’s why the Common Agricultural Policy was established in 1958. And after 50 years we’ve come a long way; 50 to 60 years in actually developing not just quality food, but safe food, and we have been able to feed the population of Europe. So we have a great deal of knowledge and experience and a lot of structures and programs. Some have been successful, some perhaps have not been as successful, but we have a lot of that experience that we can bring to the table. With a forum like this, facilitated by Expo Milano, we can, with our global partners, see what has to be done to feed the populations of the world.
Minister Martina, in his introduction to the conference, highlighted the various meetings to be held in 2015, up until the climate change conference to be held later this year in Paris, on issues related to agriculture and the environment. What do you think will be the challenge on which we can make the most progress?
I think that we have to respect environmental constraints in relation to food production in the future and even though all the events and meetings are important, I think that the Climate Change meeting in Paris is also a critical element in ensuring that we have a sustainable agriculture policy in the years ahead to help feed the population of the world.