The 8th EU Agricultural Outlook Conference organised on 9-10 December 2021 with the theme:
„FIT FOR 2030 Resilient EU agri-food systems and rural areas”
The annual event is organized with the participation of stakeholders representing EU bodies, international organizations and farmers with the aim of discussing what is expected to happen on global agricultural markets in 2030. The conference deals with issues such as resilience of food markets after the Covid-19 pandemic, the green transition from the farmers’ point of view and the political and market uncertainty the agricultural sector is facing currently.
Barna Kovács, Secretary General of the BIOEAST Initiative was invited to take part at the conference as a keynote speaker and panelist for the session on Bioeconomy. He, together with other experts formulated his thoughts about the connection of farming and Fit for 55 package in the context of bioeconomy. Mr. Kovacs emphasized that the essence of bioeconomy is the renewable carbon which is embedded in biomass and could serve the food and non-food purposes. In this context the sustainable farming could produce, process and store the renewable carbon efficiently contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, on a question about possible tensions in this field answered that there are still some that have to be tackled, among others how we price and pay the renewable carbon, tensions on renewable carbon from mother sectors like transport and energy could drive the supply but without national bioeconomy strategy, this could lead to problems. Although there is a huge potential in CEE countries on biomass valorization, including carbon dioxide and methane in, farmers do not clearly see their role in the sustainable bioeconomy, which often makes them uncertain about it. There are also other barriers to be overcome: generation gaps, lack of clear policies, lack of knowledge about the new technologies. It was stressed during the discussion that farmers have to be given solutions and a greater role in the process of valorization.
Day 1 of the conference was concluded with the message of Mr Wolgang Burtscher Director General at the European Commission, DG Agriculture and Rural Development who said that although we face challenging times and there are uncertainties Europe must be proud of its high level food sovereignty.