martedì 17 marzo 2009

The G8 Farmers' Union meeting

The first agricultural meeting of the G8 members will be held in Rome on march 19th. According to the press releases, this meeting will be focused on the issues of food security and safety, prices and environmental protection with the aim to stop speculations and provide food at the right prices at international level. The meeting will be concluded by the signing of a joint declaration which will be presented to the G8 Governments and Parliaments.

I think that it is extremely important that, in this moment of crisis, agriculture, food, environment and sustainable energy (and their interrelations) are at the core of the international debate.

At present we are dealing with the consequences of an "ephemeral economy" based on speculations and frauds, and I think that it is important to debate about sectors of the real economy like agriculture which surely shows several critical issues but in the same time it detains remarkable opportunities and possibilties of development.

Agriculture is the second productive sector in Italy having a relevant role in the "Made in Italy" in the international markets more than fashion or car industry: it represents also an important development wheel for italian economy as a whole and for many local economies. Many additional opportunites may derive from a "sustainable" agriculture from agroenergy, to photovoltaic and eolic fields, from organic agriculture to environment and landscape protection.

In Italy the idea that economic development can be supported only by manufacture industry is still very diffused: an advanced economic development is synonym only of micro-electronics, IT or nanotechnologies. On the contrary, it is possibile to foster development also with traditional sectors creating jobs and supporting incomes also thanks to agriculture and rural sectors. There is no shame in working or investing in agricultural and rural activities.

Many development, entrepreneurial and job opportunities are linked to agricultural and rural activities and it is essential to look again at these sectors above all if they are put in the condition to operate within local circuits composed also by handicraft firms, small scale industries, local restaurants and tourism firms.

An agriculture inspired by the issue of local development, food safety and security, ethics, labour quality, environmental protection, traditions and local culture may represents a fundamental precondition for an effective local development plan and acting as a local safety net above all in this phase of sudden de-industrialization and recession.

A promotion of local resources cannot be translated only into folk fairs and depliants: local administrators have the duty to become effective interlocutors acting as "dynamo" to really valorize present and tacit potentials in the local systems recognizing the "local capital" made of human skills and capabilities and local territorial peculiarities.

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