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Ecological transition: Europe must act quickly

The intervention of Matthias Berninger, executive vice president of Bayer, at the State of the Union

Europe needs to speed up the transition to sustainable agriculture. The issue was discussed during one of the State of the Union panels, inaugurated today in Florence. The meeting, introduced by the European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski and moderated by the economist Fabio Santeramo, highlighted the awareness but also the need to introduce European regulations as soon as possible to make agriculture more modern and sustainable.

“I think the challenge for soil cultivation is that we need to decarbonise agriculture,” said speaker Matthias Berninger, Executive Vice President Public Affairs, Science, Sustainability & HSEBayer AG. Commissioner Wojciechowski spoke about carbon agriculture research, but above all about the need to help agriculture adapt to climate change.

Just this week, the World Meteorological Organization predicted that we will have a shift in weather patterns towards hotter or, in any case, extreme temperatures. “This prompts a reflection on the prevention of an emergency in the crops of old Europe, starting, for example, with the production of wheat, but also the cultivation of tomatoes or other vegetables are proposed as crucial topics. In this sense, it would be impossible to tackle climate change without focusing on innovation”, Berninger added.

For women in agriculture, the greatest risk is unintended pregnancies, which could be addressed by providing access to contraception for family planning. The last point addressed by Berninger concerns the ratio between inventories and used goods, which has fallen for four consecutive years. That is, we are consuming more than we produce globally and this is a good reason to discuss these problems with a different approach than ten years ago.

"The emergency is global", underlines Lauren Philips, Deputy Director of the FAO. "Climate warming is practically reaching the whole planet, it is necessary to intervene soon and, in this sense, Europe, with its weight, can do a lot".

Taking the floor again, Berninger underlined the need to "go back to considering the food system in very strategic terms and not just through the lens of developing splendid landscapes. This means focusing on innovation, as in China and the United States: in this management, a fundamental decision by the Commission is expected by the end of the year. I don't think - said the executive - that we will be able to adapt to climate change and agriculture, neglecting those same technologies that have helped us overcome the pandemic in agriculture".

“We are here in Florence, a city that has benefited from the revolutionary innovation of printing. The Ottoman Empire, on the other hand, had decided not to print books and, precisely for this reason, much of Istanbul's intellectual potential is in this city. We should be concerned about this but I am very confident that the EU will be much more open to innovation", concluded the Executive Vice President Public Affairs, Science, Sustainability & HSEBayer AG.

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EFA News - European Food Agency