The EU Ranks as the World's Biggest Net Importer of Agricultural Produce While Neglecting Critical Investment in Agricultural Research

Oct 13, 2010, 04:29 ET from Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture e. V.

BERLIN, October 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ --

- International Competition for Agricultural Production Land is Rising Dramatically

The food situation in poor countries continues to deteriorate. On World Food Day, October 16th, the number of starving people worldwide will have reached a staggering 925 million.

"Even assuming the very best possible scenario, the poorest nations will fail by a wide margin to produce enough food to feed their own populations over the coming decades," says Harald von Witzke, President of the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture. "This rapidly growing shortfall can only be met if richer nations are able to produce and export more food. So far, the EU has turned a blind eye to this looming crisis. Despite the urgent need for immediate action, this important issue has received little or no publicity."

Von Witzke believes that the EU has neglected critical investment in agricultural research for far too long. In the meantime, it has become the world's biggest net importer of agricultural produce. This means that in order to meet its own demand for food, natural fibres, bio-energy and other agricultural products, the EU uses a virtual land area in other countries of about 35 million hectares, equivalent to the size of Germany. The last ten years alone have seen net EU imports from virtual agricultural land increase by 10 million hectares.

"The EU has become a huge virtual land-user outside of its own territory," says von Witzke. He points out that this expansion of land by the EU overseas is leading to deforestation and contributing to climate change.

"We must collectively demand that the EU fully commits to innovation and high productivity in agriculture. This is vital if we are to eradicate hunger, make a stand against climate change, and maintain natural habitats."

About HFFA

The Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture is a leading Berlin-based think tank in global agriculture, bringing together a unique group of internationally recognised experts from science, civil society and industry. Its goal is to develop scientific-based policy recommendations for the future of global food and agriculture.

    Contact:
    Prof. h. c. Harald von Witzke
    Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture e. V.
    hvwitzke@agrar.hu-berlin.de
    Phone: +49-30-2093-6233
    Mobile: +49-177-400-1187

SOURCE Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture e. V.