Sweden shows the way for sustainable development of agriculture in the EU
On the occasion of Sweden's Presidency of the EU, CAP directors recently met for a conference in Malmö. On May 30, Lantmännen hosted an afternoon at Framtidsgården Svalöv as part of the conference. Lennart Nilsson, who participated in the farm visit, describes some of the important issues raised during the meeting.
The farm visit at Framtidsgården Svalöv was very well arranged by Lantmännen and we had many important conversations. During the afternoon, questions were raised about innovation and opportunities to increase agricultural sustainability both in terms of the environment and profitability. I participated in a panel discussion together with speakers from Sweden, the European Commission and the forthcoming Spanish Presidency. The panel agreed that we need to produce more in fields and farms while increasing environmental sustainability.
An issue that several pointed out is the importance of plant breeding to meet climate change, respond to consumerpreferences and increase productivity. Vi has a broad toolbox for increasingly sophisticated plant breeding . A current issue right now is the use of new genomic techniques such as CRISPR/Cas9. If the technique is used to induce mutations and thereby change genes within the plant, so-called targeted mutation breeding, this technique can increase precision and pace in the selection of the traits to be enhanced in plant breeding without adding genes from an alien species.
The EU ifthe Commission plans to present a proposal on this in July. The next step is for parliaments and Member States to support it. Jag believes that the meeting atSvalöv, with several different countries repsented, was an important step in creating a dis s s and consensus on the way forward within the EU, including on the plant breeding issue.
Another issue raised was how already available technologies for more productive and sustainable cultivation can be spread and have a greater impact on a broad front. One example is that itmust be easier for farmers to connect existing technology, for example to easily use a satellite image in their own systems. Standardisation and cooperation are what is needed here. The industry in Sweden has taken the initiative for the agricultural data platform Agronod, for easy and secure sharing of Swedish agricultural data. Linked to the implementation gap, the importance of profitability in agriculture was also highlighted. We do not have the opportunity to switch to green methods becausethe numbers are red.
The Swedish Presidency of the EU has shown that Sweden is a country to be reckoned with in agricultural issues. This is where developments are taking place that should be listened to and followed. We are probably foremost in Europe in using precision farming for, among other things, spreading plant nutrients. We want to show such opportunities and good examples. The opportunity perspective in the meeting at Svalöv was very positive. Through EU cooperation, we can take steps forward together within Europe for a more sustainable agriculture that provides the conditions for food security and supply. At the same time, EU-wide initiatives need to be adaptable to local conditions. In Sweden, we have come a long way, for example in terms of reducing the use of chemical pest protection where Swedish levels are low. In this respect, EU objectives need to be adapted to the conditions of different countries.
Often the question is asked "what is sustainable agriculture?". We in Sweden have come a long way in responding to it. I often use Lantmännen's reports on Future Agriculture to explain what we mean. Sweden is at the forefront of driving development and we can show the way with our good examples within the EU. As a member and chairman of Lantmännen's local association in Harplinge, I am proud of Lantmännen's impressive display to the CAP directors at Framtidsgården Svalöv.