In a landmark opening speech at the inaugural EU Agri Food Days, an annual event focusing on on the outlook of European agriculture, market trends, food security, sustainability, and digital innovation, European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen celebrated the resilience of Europe’s agri-food sector, exploring several challenges the EU member states have been confronted with in recent years, with special regards to the global pandemic, energy crisis, and inflation. Among the most noteworthy achievements, she mentioned a 16% increase in agri-food exports in 2022 and the implementation of the ambitious Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with over 300 billion euros in funding over five years.
Von der Leyen highlighted the sector is at the forefront of the fourth agricultural revolution, leveraging cutting-edge technologies like precision farming and 5G connectivity, supported by EU initiatives. With reference to technological advances, she mentioned that:
the approval of new genomic processes can lead to more resistant plant varieties and less use of pesticides.
Moreover, she addressed that as the world faces unprecedented climate challenges, farmers are adopting nature-based solutions, enhancing biodiversity, soil management, and water resilience through CAP Strategic Plans.
Recognizing the agriculture sector’s vulnerabilities, von der Leyen speech underscored the urgency of a collective effort to address challenges such as passing on farms to the next generation, crop failures, and the impact of inflation on food affordability. The forthcoming Agriculture Strategic Dialogue, to be launched in January, will seek to bring diverse stakeholders together to discuss critical issues and shape a consensus on the future of agriculture. It aims to secure a fair standard of living for farmers, support sustainable agriculture, harness technological innovation, and ensure a blooming future for Europe’s food system.
As Europe stands at the intersection of technological innovation and nature-based solutions, the EU Agri Food Days set the stage for collaborative action, fostering unity among farmers, entrepreneurs, scientists, retailers, and all the actors active along the agri-food value chain. Together, they aim to overcome challenges, embrace opportunities, and pave the way for a sustainable, resilient, and prosperous future for the agri-food sector.