German industry launches forum on the subject of feeding the world

Safeguarding world food supplies, solving the energy question and combating climate change: three key issues affecting the future of humankind, which are all closely interlinked. German industry is using the opportunity provided this year by the International Green Week in order to stage a meeting, from 16 to 18 January 2009. It will be attended by 30 ministers of agriculture and more than 1000 experts from agriculture and the food industry from all over the world, who will be discussing various global strategies for addressing these problems.

On 17 January 2009, during the International Green Week, more than 30 ministers of agriculture will be responding to an initiative by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and will be attending the first Berlin International Conference of Agriculture Ministers at Charlottenburg Palace. German industry will be using this political platform in order to hold an international economic forum, the "International Forum for Food and Agriculture" (IFAE), from 15 to 18 January at the ICC Berlin, on the subject of world food supplies.

This forum is a joint initiative by the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE), the German Farmers' Union (DBV), the German Agricultural Society (DLG), the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations. The aim of the "International Forum for Food and Agriculture" is to find ways of achieving sustainable increases in agricultural production and to identify areas of action for improving the political conditions for agriculture and the food industry around the world, thereby providing ministers of agriculture with recommend-ed courses of action.

The main focus of the forum will be the plenary session entitled "World food situation 2020 innovative solutions in the face of limited resources", from 2.30 to 5 p.m. on 17 January 2009. "Green chain" strategies, from farming via agricultural engineering, the food industry and the trade in agricultural products, will be used to show the direction that must be taken in order to more effectively safeguard future world food supplies. Collaboration between politics and development institutions has a decisive role to play in this process. The papers and the panel discussions between international business representatives will deal with the opportunities offered by innovation for increasing yields and making more efficient use of resources, and how partnerships to encourage modernisation can make these technologies more accessible, especially in Eastern Europe as well as in emerging economies and developing nations. This is where the sustainable production of agricultural raw materials and foodstuffs has a vital role to play.

There will also be three panel events to examine some strategic issues. From 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, 16 January the discussions will focus on suggested strategies for minimising emissions of greenhouse gases resulting from the production, trading and processing of foodstuffs. Agriculture as a long "forgotten" but vital resource for development and the global management of livestock epidemics will form the subjects of two further panels which will take place on Sunday, 18 January from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

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