HomeProgress10 years of agroecology to save Europe, the IDDRI study

10 years of agroecology to save Europe, the IDDRI study

Balanced diets and sustainable food chains, dream or reality? Europe's transition to agroecology and organic could actually be achieved in a decade or so, according to IDDRI (Institute for Durable Development and International Relations).

Protect human health and the environment, save the climate and biodiversity. Politics or petitions are not enoughFridays For Future ', you have to eat differently. More fiber, more seasonal vegetables and fruit, less animal protein. Consumers, as always, are the protagonists. The evolution of the diet can make it possible to reduce the imports of vegetable proteins (e.g. soy, vegetable) and feed the entire European population. For 'support sustainability', increasingly Biography, #IoVotocolPortafoglio.

Agroecology in Europe in 2050, a possible scenario 

'An agroecological Europe in 2050: multifunctional agriculture for a healthy diet'. The study by the independent institute IDDRI presents a scenario that shows how it is possible to convert the whole of European agriculture towards organic method. Thanks to 'Ten Years For Agroecology In Europe'. (1)

'It takes 10 years', the researchers explain, 'not to fully achieve agroecology in Europe in this time frame, but to launch a movement that will make this a credible prospect'. The study therefore demonstrates how this transition 'it is not only desirable, but also credible. A debate and a new strategic area are opening up, [also] in politics'.

Progressive elimination di pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, extension of agro-ecological infrastructures (e.g. hedges, trees, ponds, wild nature stripes) and healthier diets underpin the transition. Production may reduce in quantitative terms but improve in nutritional quality and socio-environmental performance.

'Despite a decline of production by 35% compared to 2010 (in kcal), this scenario it meets the food needs of all Europeans while maintaining the ability to export cereals, dairy products and wine. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector by 40% compared to 2010, restores biodiversity and protects natural resources'.

The transition of the system agriculture and food can thus respond to the most concrete and current needs:

- nourish health, with a reversal of the trend compared to 'diets increasingly unbalanced'who drive the advance of obesity also infant, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,

- preserve biodiversity, to which FAO has recently devoted a large relationship, and natural resources,

- mitigate climate change, with respect to which large-scale industrialized agriculture remains a relevant factor.

IDDRI study, the focal points

The agri-food system it is not sustainable in the medium term, not even in the Old Continent. 'Even though we produce a lot in Europe, we eat too much and our diets are unbalanced in relation to the nutritional recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) '. Hyper-production, systemic waste and unbalanced consumption.

'An agro-ecological Europe it can meet the balanced food needs of 530 million Europeans by 2050'. No risk for the nutritional needs of Europeans if they switch to a healthy diet, in line with the recommendations of Efsa and WHO. Nor is there any renunciation of traditional foods linked to the land, including meat and wine. Only, we must reduce the consumption of food of animal origin, privileging its quality. And above all less added sugars, more fiber, more vegetables and seasonal fruit in general.

The 'food security'- that is to say, the security of food supplies and therefore the availability of healthy and nutritious food for all - has in turn been the subject of a recent FAO report. And it can be even better guaranteed by agro-ecology, in the perspective, among other things, of reducing imports of legumes and cereals from outside the EU (and thus, the demand for products that come from often unsustainable supply chains). Reserves can then be built up, which are very useful in situations of extreme volatility of food prices and / or crises.

Health and the environment, a possible utopia. Homework of politics

The scenario proposed by IDDRI is certainly consistent with the needs shown in the UN report 'The State of the World In 2050'. I 'Sustainable Development Goals'(SDGs) set for 2030 are very far away and are moving further and further away, in particular as regards the elimination of extreme poverty and malnutrition that goes with it.

'An ideal archetypal vision for 2050'can therefore be translated into reality on condition that the synergies indispensable to promote are activated immediately fair and sustainable supply chains. With pressure from below of consumers and the contribution of politics.

Politics European he must free himself from the burden of LOBBY di Big food and the Big 4, to work seriously on three fronts:

1) stimulate #change of the nutritional profiles of the junk food with mandatory measures. The ultra-processed foods, when they qualify as HFSS (High Fats, Sugar and Sodium), must be subjected to:

  • taxes on sugars (as well as sodium, in products containing it) and fats. The sure effect of this measure is to force operators to improve the recipe, as seen with sugary drinks in England,
  • sales prohibitions in places frequented by minors and young people, and in their proximity (eg. schools, sports and recreational facilities),
  • drastic limits on supply in vending machines (e.g. no more than 5%) compared to healthy foods,
  • drastic ban on advertising and any form of 'marketing to kids', also on'social media', in relation to HFSS foods,

2) establish one information scheme synthetic nutritional on the label, with color codes that help consumers to distinguish foods that are 'good every day' from those to be consumed in exceptional circumstances and homeopathic quantities. The NutriScore model, already adopted in neighboring France and Spain, it is also ideal for Italy,

3) take action on value chain in the agri-food chain and the socio-economic issues deriving from it. Through measures to promote:

  • fair remuneration of farmers engaged in sustainable production, 
  • incentives to the conversion to the organic method, taking into account its distinctive and essential role in mitigating climate change is to preserve ecosystems. Instead of polluting the aquifers e jeopardize public health with agro-toxicants,
  • access to food healthy and natural to the population groups who live in disadvantaged conditions, through specific social assistance and welfare measures. These measures must be guaranteed throughout the European Union, to reaffirm the fundamental human right to food. A right already enshrined by the United Nations, which they also dedicated a Special Rapporteur to it, which, however, the allegedly 'civilized' countries continue to ignore.

Align policies agricultural, commercial, food, health and environmental will not be easy. Mathis is the challenge of Common Agricultural Policy.'recalls the IDDRI study. Underlining how already in the past decades agricultural production has undergone important transformations, not even imaginable at first.

The hypothesized scenario moreover, it does not 'rain from heaven' but expresses the resultant, the vector sum of all the forces of thought and social movements oriented towards the common good. Those who object to the use of GMOs and pesticides are concerned about food health, climate change, animal welfare. Just like us and most of our readers.

# Égalité!

Dario Dongo and Sabrina Bergamini


(1) 'IDDRI,'An agroecological Europe in 2050: multifunctional agriculture for healthy eating. Findings from the Ten Years For Agroecology (TYFA) modeling exercise'

(2) FAO, 'The State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture'



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