New Challenges in the Agrofood sector 12:09:2017

The First Green Growth Community Transnational Event – “New Challenges in the Agrofood sector” took place in Girona (Spain) on the 28-30th of June 2017. This networking event specifically addressing the agrofood sector was the first of the many upcoming for the Green Growth community and relevant stakeholders of the Mediterranean area and other European regions to jointly discuss about the new challenges in sectoral priorities and key enabling strategies. 

The Green Growth Community represents one of the eight thematic communities created by the INTERREG MED Programme for the sustainable development of the Mediterranean Region. It is composed of over 95 public authorities, SMEs, research bodies and NGOs that are involved as partners or stakeholders. Its purpose is to promote a sustainable development in the Mediterranean area based on the sound management of the natural resources thanks to innovation and considering the effects on the labour market by promoting social justice and green jobs.

TECOS, Slovenian Tool and Die Devlopment Centre is one of the four associated members within the Green Growth MED Consortium and is pleased to share the meeting summary and key findings.

Particular emphasis during this event was given to the technical updates on new strategies and approaches in agrofood areas with major opportunities and challenges. Keynote speakers from UVic-UCC (Mr. Sergio Ponsá), European Union Experts (Mr. Enzo Reali), Agrifood Innovation and Knowledge Transfer- DARP (Mr. Jaume Sió), Environmental Protection Department of the Region of Sardinia (Ms. Luisa Mulas), Agency for Business Competitiveness, Catalonia Trade and Investment - ACCIÓ (Ms. Cristina Peña and Mr. Alberto Pezzi), Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology - IRTA (Ms. Conxita Royo), Interreg Med Joint Secretariat (Ms. Maria Groueva), Wageningen University (Mr. Nikos Kalogeras) and from University of Lleida (Ms. Montserrat Viladrich) have reviewed the lessons learned from the legal frameworks on agrofood sectoral innovations, Green Public Procurement (GPP), Smart Specialisation Objectives, Cluster Policies and Supply Chains in Agrofood Industry.   The agenda mixed formal plenary sessions and interactive workshops, each day focusing on one of the overriding meeting themes; protect, innovate, and accelerate.

The agro-food sector influences several aspects of people’s life, as it offers many ecological, cultural, economic and social services. However, the agrofood sector is nowadays facing many challenges. The world population is growing quickly, and as a result, there is an increase in food demand. Environmental sustainability is threatened by climate change and water scarcity, which will influence the agricultural productivity. Another global risk is contamination and soil degradation especially in Mediterranean areas. In the other hand, the concept of “One Health” is very important and represents a global challenge since it recognizes the relationship between human, animal and environmental health. Another important challenge is to reduce food waste, which is estimated on 30% of the food production in total. Last but very important aspect is to implement the cross-sectoral replication of the innovative and already available technologies in the production of food to optimize the resource efficiency, minimize the ecological impacts and reduce greenhouse emissions. With a global mindset change and fast prominence in influencing human societies, the agro-food sector is one of those with the highest innovation potential, especially in the face of climate change, when specific mitigation and adaptation strategies are essential for guaranteeing food production.

Finally, the MED Green Growth community offers many tools for the further development of the agro-food sector, as it implies the synergy between different actors and sectors in a multidisciplinary environment, where together the community can devise new solutions and tradeoffs to emerging challenges.

All the information about the event can be found on this website

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