World Food Forum

To feed the planet we have to improve the transfer of technologies from research centers to farms
8 June 2016

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ValentiniRiccardo Valentini – IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and BCFN – Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation

The Paris Agreement was signed by more than 180 countries, including China and India. Is it an historic turning point or just a fragile compromise?

The Paris Agreement has still to be written and implemented: at the moment objectives traced by the different countries are still inadequate to restrain global warming to 2 degrees. Moreover, the agreement might even call for a bigger effort to restrain global warming to 1.5 degrees, since there are plenty of areas which would have huge problems even with that temperature level.

Nevertheless, the agreement actually represents a turning point, since for the first time 186 countries agreed to cooperate on the same level. The Kyoto Protocol, in fact, made distinction between polluting countries and countries which were subjected to pollution. This time everybody agreed that we all are in the same boat, including China and India. And even if every country has the right to fix its own targets, there will be a strict quinquennial control on the achievements.


What kind of agriculture can we imagine for the world’s future?

First of all we have to remember that the Italian agriculture is already consistent with the need to promote a quality, sustainable and environment-friendly agriculture. Agriculture in the future well be oriented to minimizing the exploitation of resources.

Just think about precision farming, which minimizes the use of fertilizers, about drip irrigation systems, which allow us to have an efficient use of water, or about the possibility of modifying animals’ diet to cut methane emissions.

Research and innovation can make agriculture a positive factor in absorbing pollution. In order to make this happen it is crucial to improve the transfer of technologies from research centers to farms. Unfortunately, this transfer is at the moment non existent.

That’s why we should help enterprises, in particular small and medium ones. And that’s why we have to find out how to use young graduates as a linkage between universities and farms.


What role can the food industry play in this process?

Food industry has plenty of innovative targets. In rich countries it has to work to reduce food waste along the supply chain, both for its own and for the world’s benefit.

In developing countries it has to address food loss caused by inadequate food transformation chains. In tropical countries, for instance, 40% of food is lost in the transfer from field to city markets because of the lacks in technology and controls. Italian agriculture can teach a lot worldwide on how to reduce food waste through the shortening of supply chains.


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