Press release

World Food Day: Europe’s agricultural productivity must increase to meet growing global demand

Brussels, 17 October 2011

European agricultural productivity has increased by less than 1per cent in the past year, yet world demand is growing by at least 3-4 per cent each year, and it is predicted to increase by 70% by 2050. Europe currently utilises over 30 million hectares – the size of Germany – outside its borders to meet its own needs, which some academics have called a ‘virtual land grab.’

In light of World Food Day yesterday and the ongoing food security discussion this week in Rome, the EU must recognise its responsibility to increase its production and provide more food not only for its own citizens but for people around the world. With the global population due to reach 7 billion by the end of this month and nearly 1 billion people going hungry, EuropaBio calls on the European Union (EU) to re-consider the importance of increasing Europe’s agricultural productivity sustainably.

Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, Director of Green Biotechnology Europe, commented, “There is a certain hubris in the fact that the EU relies on other countries to supply it with food, feed, fibre and fuel. The EU has ignored its responsibility to produce more for far too long. Policymakers need to put policies in place that allow farmers to increase their productivity and competitiveness. The recent CAP proposal, despite many strong elements, requires farmers to leave 7 per cent of their land fallow. Already today, with 100% of their land, farmers must produce more. With 7 per cent less arable land, European farmers will need access to every possible tool to increase agricultural productivity – including biotech crops – or the EU will miss its opportunity to help itself and others.”

 

Fast Facts

  • Global demand for food is predicted to increase by 70% by 2050.
  • The EU relies on over 30 million hectares outside its borders to meet its populations’ needs for food, feed, fuel and fibre.
  • GM crops have shown to increase yield by 6%-30%. 
  • Farmers in the EU currently have limited or no access to GM crops. Yet over 15 million farmers worldwide grow GM crops, and 9 in 10 farmers who choose GM are smallscale farmers in developing countries.