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Fruit and vegetable consumption drops, but value increases

Gianluca Bagnara (in the photo), consultant and economist, is renowned in the agricultural and industrial sector on a global level. "While the Italian media focused on the referendum, two important things happened in the agricultural sector in early December. First of all, the 2016-2026 Agricultural Outlook was issued. The key topics were climate change and the use of resources. The European consumption of basic agricultural products is slowing down, but the value of specialist products in increasing."

"Continuous changes in the structure of agricultural businesses are leading to a higher per-capita income due to the fact that less labour is used. Price perspectives remain low, though, so the total income remains negative. Pollutants, chemical residue and greenhouse gas emissions will affect corporate management and the relative costs more and more. The capability of managing climate change and management risks will truly make the difference."

For the first time, the Outlook also examined the fresh produce sector, for both its contribution to the sector's added value and for its impact on occupation. The commerce between productive and non-productive areas within Europe and towards third countries is growing. Another aspect is consumption, which appears stagnant or dropping in terms of quality but not in value, so products with a higher added value are more appreciated.

"The other important thing happened in Cancun, Mexico, where the UN Convention on Biological Diversity was held. For the first time, the focus was not only on safeguarding biodiversity and creating reserves and protected areas, but also on mainstreaming agrobiodiversity in a sustainable food system. Agriculture is no longer seen as either exploitation or as a resource to defend. Biodiversity becomes a value at the basis of an integrated agricultural and food chain that responds to the consumption trends identified by the Outlook." 


The concept of biodiversity is therefore not only connected to the product, but also to the social and cultural aspect, as well as to the capability of adapting to the climate. This is why Italy signed the "Business and Biodiversity Pledge".

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