Janez Potočnik, former European Environment Commissioner and new FFA chairman, talks about the future challenges facing the global agricultural sector.
Janez Potočnik, the newly appointed chairman of the Forum for the Future of Agriculture, gives his view to serious global transition, in which everybody will need to contribute and bear a fair share; also farmers and other owners of land, who need to rethink the way how they produce, general public the way we consume, the way we live; 1/3 of food is thrown away - this is not only immoral but also economically illogical: also 1/3 of water is wasted, 1/3 of land, 1/3 of energy, chemicals.. we need to change the policy of food production and distribution.
The European Commission's Horizon 2020 is a framework document. The proposal is divided into three priority areas: Excellent Science; Industrial Leadership; Societal Challenges. In addition the roles of the JRC and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) are specified.
In 2011 the European Commission drafted proposals for a Regulation to establish the development of the next Framework Programme to replace the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) which was coming to an end. This was entitled Horizon 2020. The European Commission has agreed the proposals and it is expected that final agreement of the European Parliament will be reached in 2013, with the launch of the first calls expected in 2014.
The continuation of identifying research priorities and communicating these priorities to DG Research and Innovation, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) as well as the Member States is an aspect of European Food Safety Authority's Science Strategy relating to the strengthening the scientific evidence for risk assessment and risk monitoring. Contributing to the developing Horizon 2020 programme will be integral in meeting the objectives in this area.
Within the proposal Part III, Societal Challenges relates directly to the policy priorities and societal challenges identified in the Europe 2020 Strategy. One of the main objectives in this part focuses on “Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research, and the bio economy” with the specific objective “to secure sufficient supplies of safe and high quality food and other bio-based products, by developing productive and resource-efficient primary production systems, fostering related ecosystem services, along side competitive and low carbon supply chains.” Plant health with research on harmful organisms fits to this safe food reference in the proposal. The broad lines of activities under this part include „sustainable and competitive agri-food sector for a safe and healthy diet‟.
The European Commission has adopted on Monday 6 May 2013 a package of measures to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain.
The package of measures provide a modernised and simplified, more risked-based approach to the protection of health and more efficient control tools to ensure the effective application of the rules guiding the operation of the food chain. Five draft regulations are put into adoption procedure with other EU institutions, including the European Parliament and the Council. The main four are foreseen to be adopted in next 2 years:
- Official controls,
- Animal health,
- Plant health,
- Plant reproductive material (including seeds)
The current body of EU legislation covering the food chain consists of almost 70 pieces of legislation. The package of reform will cut this down to 5 pieces of legislation and will also reduce the red-tape on processes and procedures for farmers, breeders and food business operators (producers, processors and distributors) to make it easier for them to carry out their profession.
The package is particularly relevant in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
"Restoring the trust and confidence of our citizens and trading partners is key given that the agri-food industry is the second largest economic sector in the EU, employing over 48 million people and is worth some €750 billion a year," he said.
"Let me highlight three issues that will be dealt with in the context of the proposal with respect to this issue as proposed in the control regulation :
Firstly: sanctions for operators who commit fraud will be commensurate to the economic gain as a result of fraud
Secondly: the legislation now enables the Commission to require testing and controls in areas such as food fraud and not only to recommend as has currently been the case
Thirdly: the legislation now requires that official controls should also be unannounced in order to strengthen our tools to fight fraud."
The legislation requires that official controls should also be unannounced in order to strengthen the tools to fight fraud.
The European Commission wants to gather views and additional information on the possible introduction of EU wide measures related to Sustainable Consumption and Production.
In a period from 11.01.2012 to 03.04.2012 the consultation also looks at Green Public Procurement (GPP), the Environmental Footprint of Products (PEF) and the Environmental Footprint of Organisations (OEF). The consultation offers an opportunity to all interested parties to express their views, to give their opinion on the proposed policy options.
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