Under the auspices of the Greek Presidency of the EU, the JRC and the Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development and Food are hosting today in Athens a high level conference on "Scientific Support to agriculture: competitiveness, quality and sustainability" with the participation of Athanasios S. Tsaftaris, Greek Minister of Rural Development and Food.
Both European and global agriculture face new, unprecedented challenges and solving these is high on the political agenda. Agricultural productivity needs to be increased in order to ensure food security for a growing population and a population with growing income and food tastes. On the other hand, biomass production needs to be increased in order to produce not only food and animal feed, but also energy and industrial products.
These challenges have to be faced amidst the increasing uncertainty caused by the impacts of climate change and the general acceptance that expansion of food production must be achieved through an approach that also encompasses sustainability of our environment and natural resources.
This conference brings together key representatives from the Greek government, scientific and business communities, and JRC experts with the aim of stimulating debate and improving the science-based understanding of the challenges that lie before the agricultural-environmental-climate system.
Invited speakers from Greece and the EU will look into the future of the European agricultural systems and climate change and resource efficiency. Topics covered include how to improve crop genetic resources for higher yield and sustainability and the "omics" revolution (genomics, epigenomics, metagenomics) and its implications in plant breeding and cultivation.
The conference reflects the importance of agriculture for the Greek economy and the importance of the JRC's scientific work in support of sustainable European agricultural policies.