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Global Forum for Food and Agriculture discusses importance of shaping international trade for the benefit of all


From 16 to 18 January 2020, around 2 000 global experts from politics, industry, science and civil society are meeting at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin, Germany to discuss global key issues and to jointly develop solutions. The forum is looking at trade for global food security from all angles and is an opportunity to discuss how to shape international trade in order for it to provide secure, diverse and sustainable food and nutrition for everyone.

Writing in the conference programme, Julia Klöckner, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture said that for all countries to benefit from international free trade “we need functioning, open and transparent markets. And we need common rules of the game. It is therefore our task to set this framework”.

Julia Klöckner

Julia Klöckner: "Rule based trade is indispensable for feeding the world and it stimulates development"

Food for all

The kick-off session brought together government, academia and industry introducing the theme of GFFA2020: “Food for all! Trade for Secure, Diverse and Sustainable Nutrition.”

Tereza Cristina Corrêa da Costa Dias, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Brazil, said we all have a responsibility to make sure we provide good food and that markets and production work. “We need to make sure that we rely on science to produce more and better [food] and to be able to make available the food that we need for poor and rich people alike”.

Joachim von Braun, Director at the Center for Development Research of the University of Bonn (ZEF), described agriculture as being “between a rock and a hard place regarding climate change”. Agriculture is in trouble because of climate change and is affected by droughts, floods and heat waves. Yet agriculture is part of the problem because of land use change. “We need to do something about the environment protection in parallel to good rule-based trade, not blame trade for what's happening at the environmental frontiers”, he said.

Jan Bock, Head of Purchasing at Lidl Germany, explained that as the fourth biggest retailer in Europe serving 80 to 100 million people every week and over a billion articles every week, they carry a great responsibility, for example, to make sure that the salt levels and sugar levels in their products are right. However, when sourcing products through global supply chains the consumer is well aware of the problems in the world, but they are “not always willing to pay the extra money for it”, he said.

Ertharin Cousin, former Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said the most vulnerable of the 821 million people who are food insecure live in some of the most vulnerable places that are being affected by climate change. “The opportunity for trade to make a difference in their access to nutritious food is real. But we also need to look at the event, the impact that it has on the malnutrition rates in company countries”, she said.


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GFFA conference programme

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