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Agrarian Forum and APAE address the fight against climate change as an opportunity for the agri-food sector


More than 200 attendees fill the Assembly Hall of the Institute of Engineering of Spain hosts the conference "Do more, with less and better" on climate change and national agri-food system, organized by the Agrarian Forum Foundation and the Association of Agri-Food Journalists of Spain in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPAMA), the Spanish Institute of Engineering, the Group of Sustainable Innovation for the Food Sector (GIS) and the National Association of Agronomists.

Madrid, February 13, 2018 During the inauguration José Abellán, president of the Agrarian Forum, stressed that the entire agri-food sector should be aware of the problem and promote measures to mitigate it: "A work in which it is worthwhile for all of us to be involved, contributing to our country maintaining and improving its agri-food system ". For her part, María García, Secretary of State for the Environment of MAPAMA, stressed that climate change "is a global challenge that challenges us all and determines our economic model and the future and well-being of the generations to come." . The Secretary of State for the Environment has stressed that the Paris Agreement will oblige Spain to reduce the levels of diffuse emissions, compared to 1990, by more than 26% in 2030 and by 80% in 2050. "The agri-food sector represents a 18% of diffuse emissions and 10.4% of total emissions and has much to contribute to the fight against climate change.We have the challenge of fighting against climate change and guaranteeing food and water resources to a constantly changing population. growth, "he said. "The countries and sectors that are capable of leading this movement will benefit most from the opportunities that are opened in environmental and economic terms, which is why the agri-food sector must be a pioneer."

Climate change and policies against its effects

The General Director of the Spanish Office of Climate Change, Valvanera Ulargui, participated in the conference, which highlighted that the scientific community included in the IPCC has made it clear that climate change has a clear agent that is man, since the time pre-industrial has influenced global warming. "Spain is aware that it is a region especially sensitive to the effects of climate change, so we must be prepared to certain impacts that are already evident." Ulargui has stated that in order to respond to the new scenario of the Paris Agreement, with a target of 26% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030, we must work on reducing emissions of fertilizers, slurry ...

For his part, Fernando Miranda, General Director of Productions and Agricultural Markets of MAPAMA, has taken up the motto of the day: "We have to produce more with fewer natural resources, so we will have to invest more resources in research". Miranda stressed that efforts should be focused on the emission of ammonia, the generation of manure by livestock, fertilization, methane emissions in paddy fields or burning in the field of stubble. "The CAP is a lever for the commitments to be achieved, which can still have better results, and the expanded conditionality will take into account the contribution of measures to comply with climatic and environmental requirements, with an extra incentive layer that is currently being debated. We want to see it as something positive. "

Ulargui and Miranda have answered the questions of those present at the hands of Clara Navío, president of the Association of Journalists of Environmental Information (APIA).

Tools for the fight against climate change in the agricultural sector: adaptation and mitigation

During the second part of the day, which was moderated by Lourdes Zuriaga, president of APAE, the professor of the Department of Agricultural Economics of the UPM School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering, María Blanco, in her presentation "What the agroeconomic models tell us", he affirmed that the climatic projections confirm changes in the temperatures and rains, something that will affect the yields of the different crops. However, we must take into account the effects of the market: "Changes in crop prices in response to changes in yield will soften the impacts of climate change on agricultural production worldwide," he said. foreseeing changes in trade flows between the different regions of the world.

For his part Robert Savé, coordinator of Viticulture and Enology of IRTA, has confirmed that climate change is a global problem that has to be solved from very particular solutions. "We have to go down to the level of the farm to try to solve the problems that climate change brings in. We have to regionalize the problem from constraints such as water, energy, soil ...", he has completed.

Big data and precision agriculture has also had its place in the day. Enrique Guillén, CEO of John Deere Ibérica, stressed that the challenge of feeding the planet can only be carried out with cross-technology: "The connectivity of different technologies allows decisions to be made, and customers tell us that 80% of the time they dedicate it to visiting farms and the remaining 20% ​​is dedicated to making decisions Our aspiration is that we dedicate 20% of the time to visit the time and, thanks to the information platforms, 80% of the time we dedicate it to make decisions, "he stressed.

Finally, Manuel Piñeiro, a scientist belonging to the Center for Biotechnology and Plant Genomics, under INIA, has outlined the latest advances in biological engineering, with genomic edition and its possibilities of application in crops as the main novelty: "Today we are witnessing a new revolution that allows us to introduce genomic modifications in crops without the need to resort to transgenics, "he said in relation to the CRISPR / Cas technology:" The most surprising thing is that this system works in all organisms that have been tested, including In crops, it opens a range of infinite possibilities both in animals and plants, to solve concrete problems for adaptation to climate change ". Among the examples Piñeiro has put forward, adaptations have been made related to pests and diseases or adaptation to production itself in extreme climate situations.

During the closing of the day, the General Secretary of Agriculture and Food MAPAMA, Carlos Cabanas, stressed that the Ministry is working to develop a strategy with autonomous communities, environmental organizations and to respond to agriculture by the challenges of the climate change: "Everyone must participate and be involved in the fight against climate change, issues such as biodiversity, efficiency in the use of water and soil ... we have to address them from the sector, because if they will not address it from outside, "he concluded.