May 16, 2021

Ministers from 74 countries agree in Berlin to boost the digitization of the field

Ministers from 74 countries agree in Berlin to boost the digitization of the field

The agriculture ministers of 74 countries, participants 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 and adapted to the current consumer.

"Smart solutions are needed to guarantee a food supply in line with health standards," says the final communiqué agreed by those attending the meeting, held in parallel to the Green Week – "Grüne Woche" -, the great agricultural fair that is celebrated In Berlin.

The world population has doubled in the last 50 years, continues the document, and global production has tripled in that time thanks to technological advances, which does not prevent 821 million people worldwide suffer from hunger and 2.5 billion suffer from a 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 yesterday by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, together with the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan.

It was an "eminently consultative" forum, recalled the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Spanish, Luis Planas, assistant to the sessions along with other European, Latin American and the rest of the world.

"This is the most important meeting at the level of ministers of the world," added Planas, which allows "complementing" the regular meetings that, at European level, keep the headlines with colleagues with "less fluid" exchanges with the rest, either in the G20 framework or other multilateral areas.

Spain occupies, in terms of digital development, "a good position" in the whole of the EU, since 71% of its population has access to broadband internet, said the minister, to regret that this high percentage does not correspond with the one existing in rural areas, where it stands at 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 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 differences.

"Fighting against the so-called 'empty Spain' or progressive depopulation of rural areas 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, to remember that those points where depopulation is most acute is precisely where the digital divide weighs most.

"You must take advantage of new technologies to move towards a more sustainable agriculture", emphasized the minister, in what comes "an efficient use of water", access to broadband and the boost to work "of young people and women" .

The ministerial sessions were held on this first Saturday of the Green Week, which opened on Friday and will continue until the next day 27.

The organizers estimate that some 400,000 visitors will attend until the end of the fair, in which 1,750 exhibitors from 61 countries are presented.

Coinciding with its first weekend, hundreds of tractors and about 35,000 demonstrators paraded through the center of the German capital, according to police figures, to demand a greener agriculture.

"We are fed up with the mass agricultural industry", is the motto of the call, launched by environmental organizations and cooperatives of the sector and whose point of concentration was the emblematic Brandenburg Gate.

Tractors from various parts of the country came to the march, who arrived at the site of concentration by three different routes through the German capital.


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