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Saturday, October 01 2022

Prague: EU ministers discuss food security, sustainable agriculture

Photo Credit : IANS

Prague: The European Union (EU) must strengthen food security, improve the sustainability of agriculture and promote the use of modern techniques, the member states’ Agriculture Ministers agreed in Czech capital Prague.

“Ministers agreed that the EU must now act in a coordinated way to maximise sustainable increase in agricultural production and accelerate the use of modern techniques in agriculture,” the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU said on Friday in a statement after the meeting.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict, the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and advancing climate change “are having a major impact” on global food security and world food prices, Xinhua news agency reported.

One of the main solutions to sufficient food production while ensuring sustainability, according to the Ministers, is to use innovation, research and modern technologies, including precision farming, to further reduce pesticide and fertiliser consumption.

“We have a major challenge in the Union to sustainably increase agricultural production, reduce food waste and ensure that people around the world have access to quality food. It may be time to rethink some traditional approaches to food production in favour of new modern techniques,” Czech Agriculture Minister Zdenek Nekula said in the statement.

The Ministers discussed science, innovation and modern plant breeding methods in agriculture, and agreed that the EU “must react as quickly as possible” to the development of modern trends and change the outdated legislative framework by which it regulates the use of modern plant breeding methods.

“We urgently need drought, frost, disease and pest-resistant crops that require fewer pesticides and artificial fertilisers,” Nekula said, noting he was “pleased” that European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski “has clearly said the European Commission’s readiness to bring forward proposals for plant breeding legislation in the short term.”

Citing data from the UN, the statement said up to 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021, and nearly 1.3 billion tonne of food, or nearly one-third of food produced for human consumption, were lost or wasted globally in 2020, calling for more efforts to sustainably increase agricultural production and reduce food waste.

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