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 Index 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2015/2225(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0174/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0174/2016

Debates :

PV 06/06/2016 - 18
CRE 06/06/2016 - 18

Votes :

PV 07/06/2016 - 5.14

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0251

Debates
Monday, 6 June 2016 - Strasbourg Revised edition

18. Technological solutions for sustainable agriculture (short presentation)
Video of the speeches
PV
MPphoto
 

  Anthea McIntyre, rapporteur . – Madam President, let me start by saying how much I have really appreciated the support and cooperation of all the Groups and the shadows in producing this report. It is estimated that there will be nearly 2.5 billion more people on the planet by 2050 than there are today, so satisfying the demand for safe, healthy and nutritious food is one of the biggest challenges facing our world. Land availability is shrinking; we have environmental degradation, shortages of water and increased energy demand, not to mention the emergence of new pests and diseases – all of which are putting real pressure on the natural environment. So we need to develop technological solutions not only to increase production, but to improve the means of distribution and to tackle food waste, and the benefits of innovative technologies need to be applicable and available to all our farmers whether they are conventional or organic, livestock or arable, small scale or large scale.

Concern about food security has brought a new focus to public sector research and development in recent years, but European agriculture continues to trail behind many of its international competitors. What we need is sustained and prioritised investment in applied and translational research. Not enough research is commercialised, and that means that farmers are not able to take advantage of the opportunities that innovation could provide, Take precision farming, for example. My report calls on the Commission and the Member States to work in partnership to improve the performance and adaptability of PF techniques.

Agriculture accounts for 70% of the world’s freshwater use – 70%. Now this can be significantly reduced by the use of precision irrigation techniques. My report welcomes the inclusion of PF robotics in Horizon 2020 and encourages the uptake of GPS-driven machinery and drones. It welcomes the development of controlled traffic farming technologies which reduce soil damage. It welcomes efforts to integrate high-resolution remote sensing technology into organic farming.

The report also covers the need for continuous progress in innovative breeding aimed at increasing not only the range of pest- and disease-resistant traits in crops, but also the range of food raw materials with nutritional and health beneficial characteristics on the market. The loss of genetic diversity over the past century threatens our food and feed security, so all plant varieties, animal species, land races, wild and semi-wild relatives, they are all essential for maintaining genetic diversity. And we should be encouraging an open and transparent dialogue among the stakeholders and the public on responsible development of high-precision innovative solutions for breeding programmes, including risks, hazards and benefits. We need to raise awareness and understanding of new techniques among farmers and the general public, and we have to make sure that consumers and farmers are sufficiently educated about new breeding techniques to ensure that open and informed public debate can take place.

Europe should be a world leader in agricultural technology. Farmers are the major stewards of our environment and they need continued access to innovation, new technology and research in order to produce food in a sustainable way. So we need all to work together – the EU and the Member States, academia such as Harper Adams University in my region, the industry, breeders, agro-chemical sectors, all work together to make sure that we have the best research and we translate it practice, from lab to farm to fork. That will unlock a new phase in agricultural innovation in Europe.

 
Last updated: 20 September 2016Legal notice