Food, agricultural and more widely, rural interests have been insufficiently considered as strategic assets in our developed societies…
We must renew the expertise surrounding agricultural policies to make our representations evolve and find solutions to the challenges of the 21st century
Demographic growth is the main factor determining the international geostrategic context. Within one and a half centuries, from 1900 to 2050, the population on the globe will have gone from 1.5 billion to 10 billion inhabitants.
This big bang has had economic, social and environmental repercussions stimulated by tremendous technological progress with the unlimited expansion of computing means. The lines of force that carry Nations and the fault lines that throw them into crises compose the movements that make new economic and military powerhouses emerge.
Destabilization risks are global: massive migratory phenomena, global warming, increasing wealth gaps and terrorism.
In this environment perpetually changing, world food security and its counterpart, people’s food sovereignty, are primary stability objectives.
That is why agriculture and food industries are at the heart of the 21st century’s challenges.
Satisfying increasing food and non-food needs, fighting poverty, avoiding disrupting speculating phenomena, protecting the environment and biodiversity are pressing objectives for the international community.
That is why since the 2008 food crisis, all countries have been reinforcing their food and agricultural policies… except for Europe that “declassified” agriculture, because of a lack of political will and long term vision.
The successive crises may they be related to food, finance or the economy are proof of the limitations of the way of thinking that has been inherited from the 1990’s.
Yet agricultural markets are unstable and the price of commodities is very volatile which creates crisis after crisis and great insecurity for farmers.
This situation is harmful at all levels :
- For farmers, especially those from countries in which agricultural policies aren’t robust enough : Europe, Africa, Middle-East;
- For companies and cooperatives from the food industry, who need a good long term visibility to make investments, innovate and develop;
- For states who should optimize their pedoclimatic and economic assets by deciding of a proper degree of openness in order to ensure their food security
Because the illusion of systematic openness for agricultural markets has been long gone with the Doha cycle in the WTO, and because of their instability, the usefulness of public regulation policies appears as vital. The market must, therefore, remain the reference, but regulations must compensate for its dysfunctions.
From there, a new multilateralism in agricultural matters that will allow thinking of a cooperation between national stabilizing and sustainable policies is to build.