The XII. Congress of European Agricultural Economists (EAAE) took place in Gent from Tuesday, 26 August, to Friday, 29 August 2008. This triennial congress - for the first time in the history of the EAAE organised in Belgium - welcomed more than 800 delegates from all over Europe and even outside to discuss problems and challenges of European agriculture. Under the title: "People, food and environments: Global trends and European challenges" more than 500 contributions were presented during the four day event on the present problems of increasing food and commodity prices, the expected food- and non-food contributions of agriculture and the challenges and strategies with respect to agricultural and environmental policies, rural development, international trade, agri-business and consumers.
Important subjects discussed in plenary sessions were the challenges posed by the growing Asian markets, the prices of food products, institutional problems with respect to agri-environment, policies for obesity and other food related health problems, possible strategies for food differentiation, the problem of biotechnology and the debate with respect to bio-energy.
The official opening of the Congress on Tuesday was preceded by four symposia among the most important an agro-business event on the problem of food prices and volatility of commodity markets. The opening ceremony in the presence of the Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Minister of Agriculture Kris Peeters took place on Tuesday, 26 August.
On Thursday 28 August (afternoon), all delegates were expected in Brussels for a session organised by the European Commission on the future challenges for agriculture and the common agricultural policy.
Chairman: John Bensted Smith, Director responsible for Economic analysis, perspectives and evaluation, Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development