Jaarevent 2023

Host van de bijeenkomst was de Kroatische Europarlementariër Marijana Petir. Zij verving parlementariër Annie Schreijer-Pierik. Hieronder vindt u de speech die Petir uitsprak in afstemming met Schreijer-Pierik:

Dear organiser, Knowledge for innovation organisation,

Dear Colleagues MEPs,

Dear guests,

I would like to greet you all gathered here on behalf of Mrs Annie Schreijer Pierik who was not able to attend the meeting herself today. I accept the opportunity to speak here and to share with you a few her and my thoughts on the topic related with Food & Agriculture: Feeding and Greening the Megacities.

Having a successful and long lasting European common agricultural policy, the majority of the Europeans forgotten the old days, some 70 years ago, when severe food shortages, at least in my country, lasted for months. That used to be happening from time to time even at the time when I was born. Today, we almost all take the daily bread for granted. Behind our food security there are 11 million of European farmers and their families, numerous researchers, scientists, retailers and may other different workers in the food processing sector and other related sectors that make our market stable and our food safe. We should not forgot that. European farmers and food producers need the best political and economic environment to do what they know the best, and we are here, in the EP, to ensure that.

The investments in research and development, and incentives that support innovation are crucial to, as to secure the food safety, as to preserve the current stable situation in the future. Especially today, when we expect the Commissioner Hogan speech at the AGRI Committee revealing the Commission proposal for the Future of the CAP beyond 2020, the Food & Agriculture sector, we should focus more to connect CAP with other European policies, to find and to ensure better synergies that should be beneficial to all stakeholders.

Within those policies, I would like to stress all the different possibilities of the agricultural sector to contribute European climate and energy goals. Through biofuels for example, and through innovative ways to reduce GHG emissions in this sector, as much as possible.

Mrs Schreijer Peirik says many times in EP that we should to look little bit northern from Brussels. Many good and innovative things comes often from the Netherlands.

The province of South-Holland is known worldwide for the production of fruits and vegetables. Enormous steps have been made in the last decades when it comes to efficiency. In total the Dutch horticultural sector exists out 10.000 hectares of greenhouses which are filled with fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers. The production of cucumbers in 1950 was 106.000 kilograms per hectare while nowadays almost 800.000 kilograms of cucumbers per hectare are produced. The production of tomatoes in 1950 was 68.000 kilograms per hectare while nowadays almost 500.000 kilograms of cucumbers per hectare are produced.

Less known is that the production also takes place in a very sustainable way in which energy suppliers and fruit and vegetable producers are working intensively together.

To stimulate a more sustainable world, the Dutch government launched the Green Deal initiative in 2011 in which also the fruit and vegetable sector was involved. These deals were made between the government and the business community to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and to reduce the usage of fossil fuels.

One example of a Green deal is the agreement between the ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation in cooperation with the Dutch Organisation for Agriculture and Horticulture. As was agreed in this Green Deal, green gas, CO2 and water were used out of fermentation of plant waste material.

Another example of a Green Deal is the sustainable usage of mushroom compost, which is a by product of an energy neutral mushroom company. This by product is offered to glass gardeners who use this by product to heat their greenhouses. Once the compost has been burned, the fertilizer industry uses the minerals out of the ashes for their products.

The total horticultural sector wants to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses per unit product even further in order to make sure that the total emission of greenhouse gas in 2020 will be reduced by 45% compared to 1990.

To achieve this, 25% of the greenhouses needs to be ´semi-closed´, which means that the will not need any natural gas and instead make use of geothermal heat instead. From 2020 onwards, greenhouses need to be build climate neutral according the government. However, there is a lack of financial resources.

I expect from the new CAP to ensure better correlation and greater synergy with European policies that aim research, development and innovation such as Horizon 2020.  Sufficient funding from the EU level supporting scientific excellence, and asking for visible results could be an answer.  Also, further financial support, for making the European horticultural sector even more sustainable could come out of LIFE+, but possibly also out from EFSI (potentially 615 billion euro´s).

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