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Consumers and farmers call for more sustainable food production in Europe

European consumers and farmers see sustainability as a top priority and are open to innovative technologies that could produce more nutritious food, new research has found.

The Sustainable Food Systems in Europe study was commissioned by Corteva Agriscience and conducted by Financial Times Group company Longitude. According to it, more than two thirds of the interviewed farmers would plan to use products derived from new plant-breeding techniques over the next five years, with more than half of consumers ready to accept this technology.

The research is based on two surveys involving 600 farm owners and managers across France, Germany, Italy, Romania, the UK and Ukraine, and 2,500 consumers in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK and Ukraine.

It also reveals that when shopping for sustainably produced food, consumers care most about reducing waste, supporting smallholder farmers and limiting the quantity of synthetic crop protection products used. It also highlights the challenges faced by farmers in implementing more sustainable practices – notably the financial penalties they incur. 

Elsewhere, the study shows that more than a quarter of farmers see consumer demands as the greatest challenge in the immediate future, believing it to be equally important as pest pressure. They also recognize that society is open to new plant-breeding techniques such as CRISPR-Cas/gene editing, with almost nine in 10 believing consumers would pay more for goods produced using these methods.

Igor Teslenko, Corteva Agriscience President, Europe, said: “This study shows there is a real need for more sustainable food production in Europe. Corteva Agriscience is well positioned to support two-way conversations regarding sustainable agriculture – bringing not only the consumer perspective to the farmer, but the farmer voice to the consumer.

“It is also great to see that consumers and farmers are ready to embrace new plant-breeding techniques that have exciting potential to grow more nutritious food that can enrich the lives of producers and consumers. Consumers are prepared to pay more for food produced in a sustainable way, and it is now up to all stakeholders – including industry – to step up and show their support as well.”

“Corteva Agriscience believes in putting the consumer and the farmer at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we are continuously innovating to shape the product portfolio of the future. By offering integrated solutions that combine seeds, seed applied technologies, agronomy advice, and digital solutions with crop protection products that have a more favorable environmental profile, we are enabling our customers to be more productive while still producing sufficient, healthy food for a growing population”, concluded Igor Teslenko.

Corteva Agriscience is committed to following up each of the key findings of the research to contribute to more sustainable agriculture to enhance lives for generations to come.

Read the full report here.

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