Online conference :Food supply and production at the heart of social equilibrium

Wednesday 22 February 2012, Paris, OECD,

To debate agricultural issues and to open newhorizons and develop further lines of thought, Les Echos and the professional bodies from the world of arable farming have invited leaders from private business and major international organisations, economists, academics, politicians and French and international experts to share their points of viewabout food and food production during the second edition of this conference.
It is possible to follow the debats online on from 9H00 AM to 5H00 PM (Paris local time).
Personalities from Brazil, Russia, India and China will present their views.

Here is a introduction which can lead to better apprehend the spirit of the event :

The increasing demand for food, the volatility of commoditymarkets and themanaging of natural resources are all international issues. Today, with increasing demographic pressures and a desire for sustainable development, these issues are often also linked to political stability. The answers
to all these issues have an agricultural dimension, yet they are essentially problems of an economic and political nature, which are neither uniquely nor specifically agricultural.

Agriculture must meet the challenge of being able to feed 9 billion people by 2050, whilst preserving increasingly scarce, limited or expensive resources (energy,mining or agricultural land) orwhilstmanaging conflicts of use (water). Whilst the question of agricultural development was until recently seen as
secondary and confined to purely technical problems, the food riots of 2008 and the revolutions in the Arab world, which were partly due to the economic crisis, have put agriculture oncemore at the centre of theWorld stage.With the goal of increasingWorld production by between 50 and 70% by 2050,
farmers will play a crucial role in political stability, managing nature and developing our economies. A report by theWorld Bank in 2008 highlighted the fact that agricultural growth is, on average, twice as effective at reducing povertywithin a country than growth in other sectors. Howdo the different regions of theWorld approach these global issues, in terms of their scientific, technical, ideological and political strengths?

To talk ofWorld agriculture implies looking at globalisation, at the development of all the different regions of theWorld and their interaction: in the near future Asia and a large part of Africa and theMiddle East, faced with strong increases in demand and limited agricultural land, will need to import food on a large scale without diminishing the potential for local production. From now on, how much priority should be given to research into improving yields throughout the world?

Rising living standards in developing nations have lead to changing patterns of consumption, particularly of meat: China’s consumption of meat multiplied six times between 1980 and 2007 (source: FAO). Increasing urbanization, togetherwith the prospect of converting land to production of non-food products raises the question ofmediating between different land uses on a global scale. The finincialisation of markets and the speculation that follows has lead to a magnification of price variations that are not related to the physical realities of the markets and has fed volality. Global regulation, togetherwith increased transparency, particularlywith regard to stock levels, seems essential to restoring confidence and securing supply. The US has been the first to legislate to limit speculation. How can we regulate markets and reduce year on year price fluctuations by limiting volatility in the

In this context, howcan Europe andmore particularly France, play an active role inmeeting these global challenges? Political stability, the exceptionably favourable climate, the level of qualification of their farmers, their technical prowess and the high demand fromthe rapidly rising populations in the countries bordering theMediterranean, are allmajor advantages and opportunities. At the same time the problems of ecology and sustainability have to be taken into account,without allowing themto impair performance. Acornerstone of regional andWorld food security, the EuropeanUnion is currently debating its agricultural policy after 2014. How can it adapt to this new global situation?

For any information, don’t hesitate to contact me.