The Ministers of Agriculture of 74 countries that are participating in the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) pledged on Saturday to promote the digitization of the field as part of the common strategy for sustainable agricultural development adapted to the current consumer.
"Intelligent solutions are needed to ensure a food supply that is in line with health standards," states the final statement agreed among the ministers attending the meeting, which was held in parallel to the Green Week (Grüne Woche) agricultural fair that is held In Berlin.
The world population has doubled in the last 50 years, continues the document, and global production has tripled thanks to technological advances, which do not prevent 821 million people worldwide from suffering hunger and 2.5 billion from being affected by food deficit.
The digitization of the field should contribute to increase agricultural production, especially in those rural areas where a more efficient development is needed to help minimize these imbalances.
The text was adopted after the round of ministerial sessions opened by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, together with the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan.
It was a consultative forum, stated Luis Planas, Spain's Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, who assisted to the sessions together with other ministers from Europe, Latin American, and the rest of the world. "This is the most important meeting among the ministers of the world," Planas added, it allows complementing the regular meetings that, at the European level, the ministers have with their colleagues, in which they have a less fluid exchange with the rest, be it in the G-20 framework or other multilateral areas.
Spain occupies, in terms of digital development, a good position in the whole of the European Union, since 71% of its population has access to broadband internet, said the minister. Unfortunately, he said, this high percentage does not corresponds to the one existing in rural areas, where it is only 21%.
"The Government of Spain is fully aware of the importance of promoting digitalization in the rural world, advancing competitiveness and sustainability, as well as overcoming the digital divide between rural and urban areas," stressed Luis Planas.
The goal is for broadband to reach 90% of the population in the next two years, but as far as the field is concerned, it is necessary to overcome many gaps. "Fighting against the so-called empty Spain or progressive depopulation of the rural area involves digitizing the field," Planas told Spanish media at the end of the ministerial sessions. "Without access to broadband it is not possible to achieve this challenge," he continued, adding that depopulation is most acute in the areas where the digital divide weighs most.
The ministerial sessions were held on the first Saturday of the Green Week, which opened on Friday and will continue until the 27. The organizers of the event estimate that some 400,000 visitors will attend the fair, in which 1,750 exhibitors from 61 countries are participating.
Coinciding with the fair's first weekend, hundreds of tractors and about 35,000 demonstrators paraded through the center of Berlin, according to police figures, to demand a greener agriculture.
"We are fed up with the mass agricultural industry," was the motto of the call, launched by environmental organizations and cooperatives of the sector. The demonstration concentrated at the emblematic Brandenburg Gate. Tractors from various parts of the country reached the point of concentration in Berlin through three different routes.