Will the European food and agriculture policy be caught in the jaw of the population growth forecast
The conclusions of the Horizon 2020's project entitled SUSFANS remind us that we should not fall into the trap of thinking of supporting our growth-obsessed model of progress at all costs.
There is no doubt that the prediction of the human population to 10 million by 2050 provides hope for trading opportunities. Projections of population growth are regularly quoted to support a worldwide increase in agricultural production, whereas the European Union has already suffered from such a policy. I recall here the events of the construction of the Common Agricultural Policy. Since the Treaty of Rome set objectives for agricultural support and growth, a mountain of problems has been created by decades of subsiding agricultural systems that heavily use natural resources and pollute the environment.
Moreover, one of the SUSFANS scenario states that the demand for food is projected to grow internationally but in the European Union. As our economic model jeopardises our environment, why are some of us still dedicated to delivering more of the same kind of growth? Carrying on thinking in exactly the same way is unlikely to get us out of the trap. The SUSFAN scenario highlight that our knowledge and understanding of the future are limited. In broad terms, it is critical to acknowledge that we evolve into situations of uncertainties. Therefore the precautionary principle should be applied in the food system decision making to anticipate and avoid future harm. Resource scarcity as well as climate change are for real and needs attention right now.
Should we look at the outcomes of the SUSFAN project as a wake-up call? Indeed, it invites us to stand back to critically appreciate other states of mind, another way of thinking. By exploring the context of environmental issues and agricultural products quality, we shall engage in a more mature debate about the future of food and agriculture in Europe.