Rural Investment Support for Europe (RISE), foundation supporting a sustainable and globally competitive rural economy in Europe, published a new study on nutrient recovery and reuse in European agriculture on March 21st. Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA), an annual conference was arranged on the following day. BSAG participated to the launch event of the report as well as to the FFA and contributed on the study explaining the Baltic Sea problems related to eutrophication.
The report stresses that current intensive and efficient agriculture has caused serious impacts on the environment and a change towards sustainable practices is needed. Poor agricultural practises and inappropriate use of nutrients has resulted in eutrophication, soil erosion, air pollution and decreasing biodiversity. The situation needs to be improved by enhanced nutrient recovery and reuse from animal manure, wastewater sludge and other nutrient containing streams.
The report emphasizes the potential of nutrient recovery and reuse and its close links to our food production, environment pollution and the limits of our resources. Improved nutrient management would also contribute to and stimulate Europe’s transition toward Circular Economy.
Ninth Forum for the Future of Agriculture
The annual debate on agriculture and the environment, FFA was arranged ninth time in Brussels on March 22nd. FFA gathered various actors to debate how to feed the world’s growing population in the future and, at the same time mitigate the effects of climate change.
The forum was opened by its chair, former EU commissioner for environment Janez Potocnik. Other speakers included Achim Steiner, UNEP executive director, José Graziano da Silva, UN Food and Agriculture Organization director general, Phil Hogan, EU commissioner for agriculture and rural development and Jeffrey Sachs, professor from the University of Columbia.
Debate focused on the challenges of food and environmental security, which are at the core of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015. FFA chair Potocnik highlighted the need for substantial change in the way societies are organized and the way people are used to behave. Potocnik stressed the need to optimize nutrient efficiency by enhanced nutrient recovery and reuse. At the same time the world needs to move towards circular economy where resources are used in a sustainable way and the amount of waste will be minimized.
UN Environmental Programme director Achim Steiner emphasized the importance of understanding the challenges the future food production faces. Concrete steps are needed in order to meet the demands for growing food production and the pressing environmental challenges.
The main message was clear: to tackle the future problems, we need to rethink our agriculture and the whole food chain in a holistic way.
Read the RISE Foundation report here: http://www.risefoundation.eu/publications
Watch FFA stage presentations here: http://www.forumforagriculture.com/ffa2016-videos/
Read speeches held in FFA here: http://www.forumforagriculture.com/speeches-slides/