How bioeconomy is transforming agriculture

The "Agricultural Systems of the Future" at the Global Bioeconomy Summit 2020

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© Agrarsysteme der Zukunft
© Agrarsysteme der Zukunft

This week the international Global Bioeconomy Summit took place for the third time. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held online.

The coordination office of the funding line "Agricultural Systems of the Future", represented by Prof. Monika Schreiner and Dr. Philip Albers (both from the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, IGZ) participated with a workshop in the track Science & Innovation: "How bioeconomy is transforming agriculture" with an internationally renowned expert panel.

The morning started with keynote speeches to introduce the workshops. Monika Schreiner presented the future visions of the BMBF funding line to get the participants into the right mood for the topic: What is necessary to implement bioeconomic principles in agriculture?

Das Panel des Vormittagsworkshops.

The first part of the workshop "What is needed to foster transformation in agriculture?" was introduced by Prof. Sonoko Bellingrath-Kimura from the Leibniz-Centre of Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and coordinator of the AdZ consortium DAKIS. She gave an insight into the agricultural landscape of the future. This vision considers the closing of nutrient cycles in future agricultural systems as well as taking ecosystem services and the preservation of biodiversity into account in any decision making.

In her subsequent presentation, Prof. Christine Watson (Scotland's Rural College, SRUC) also advocated diversification of agricultural systems and used practical examples to illustrate the potential of intermediate crops and perennial plants. In the following panel discussion Prof. Tilman Brück (IGZ) added the urban perspective of agricultural production, which is the focus of the project food4future. The socio-economist also made it clear that above all, comprehensive legal framework conditions for climate protection and also for safe food production in new forms are needed and that consumers as a whole play a key role in the transformation process. A recurring motive in the panelists' argumentation was also that better exchange, better communication, and collaborative, holistic and creative approaches are needed for the sustainable transformation of agricultural systems.

Die Abschluss-Statements der Panelist*innen

In the second part of the workshop, Christian Huyghe (Scientific Director Agricultural, INRAE) gave insights into the future strategic orientation of the newly founded National Research Institute for Agricultural, Food and Environmental Research in France. He emphasized that besides a close partnership with industry, a strong exchange with society in the innovation processe is important. Prof. Edeltraud Günther (Director of UNU-FLORES) then highlighted the opportunities for new business models in agriculture, which can be effectively stimulated by including the external costs of agricultural systems. With the AdZ project GreenGrass, coordinator Prof. Johannes Isselstein (University of Göttingen) presented in an impulse statement the vision for another agricultural system of the future.

Das Panel der zweiten Session führte die Diskussion am Nachmittag fort.

The aim is to use intelligent farming technologies to make grazing animal husbandry attractive again and to preserve grassland areas. Dr. Sandra Schwindenhammer (University of Giessen) presented a different approach for the food production of the future – the SUSKULT project. This project focuses with the development of a sustainable cultivation system for food in metropolitan regions, based on the recovery of nutrients from wastewater from sewage treatment plants.

In the following discussion, the importance of participatory approaches in innovation processes was intensively debated. The participants agreed that "living labs" as a new form of cooperation between science and civil society, in which mutual learning is in the foreground, are indispensable for a successful and sustainable transformation process.

The recording of the workshop can be found here.

Plenary Session - How bioeconomy transforms agriculture

Breakout 3 - What is needed to foster the transformation in agriculture (Wednesday morning)

Breakout 3 - What is needed to foster the transformation in agriculture (Wednesday afternoon)

How bioeconomy is transforming agriculture